While some players around the NFL are using the break between minicamp and training camp for some rest and relaxation, others are using the free time to chase their off-the-field goals.
Tight end Joel Dreessen participated in the sixth annual NFL Broadcast Boot Camp in Mt. Lauren, N.J., where he spent four days learning the business from talent, producers and executives from each of the NFL’s broadcast partners.
“Our days were jam-packed,” Dreessen said of the experience. “We were in meetings all day long. It was really cool because we’d go to a meeting about a different facet of broadcasting, whether it be how to set up the teleprompter, how to do the in-studio analysis or how to do a play-by-play call — whether it be on the radio or on TV. Then we’d do the out-in-the-field reporting. We went to a bunch of meetings about how we would do each of those things and take notes, then go put our suit and tie on and get a chance to do it. Then we’d go watch the film and get feedback from some of the professionals like James Brown, Greg Cosell and Kenny Albert. It was exceptionally informative.”
At the conclusion of the camp, Dreessen, along with Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson earned a guest co-hosting spot on SiriusXM NFL Radio this season.
Dreessen and Burleson became the first players in the six years of the camp to earn a guest hosting position.
The Broadcast Boot Camp is directed by the NFL Player Engagement and NFL Broadcasting departments and covers a wide range of topics with instructors from each of the NFL’s broadcast partners – CBS, ESPN, FOX, NBC, NFL Network, SiriusXM, Dial Global Radio, plus local radio and TV.
Of the 105 players who took part in the Broadcast Boot Camp from 2007-2011, 44 have earned broadcasting jobs as a result of their participation in the program.
“I don’t know what exactly is going to come from that,” Dreessen said. “But I guess Sirius saw something they liked in me and want to explore that a little bit more.”
DenverBroncos.com had a chance to talk to Dreessen about his experience:
Where did your interest in the sports broadcasting industry come from?
“I’ve always had an interest in the broadcasting side of it just because as an NFL player, you’re always getting interviewed, you’re doing radio shows and you’re doing TV shows. I wanted to see if I was any good at being on the other side of the microphone. This was definitely an eye-opening experience, because it’s not as easy as it looks. It’s really not – as far as being smooth with your words and being able to edit your thoughts from your brain to your speaking voice. It was definitely eye opening.”
Do you think your background as a player helps you as a broadcaster?
“I definitely have the foundation of the work ethic of what it takes to excel at a different career. Plus, I wanted to do this because I’m not getting any younger. I have to start thinking about life after football eventually. Hopefully that isn’t for several more seasons down the road, but it’s something I definitely want to prepare for.”
Which type of broadcasting did you feel most comfortable with?
“The radio aspect, that’s something that I think I could pursue. That interested me, as well as the field reporting. That was fun to get out there and kind of go through the interview process. That impromptu stuff, I was better at.”
Was it strange having the tables turned with you asking the questions instead of answering them?
“Yeah, because you have to sit down and write a script and think of questions to ask and present it in a way that would be interesting to the viewers. It was tricky. It was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be.”