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Sapp Weighs in on Rookie Symposium

Hall of Famer Warren Sapp talks about his experience at the NFL Rookie Symposium


The Best Day!
By Warren Sapp

I've heard for so many years about all the players coming back and speaking at the Rookie Symposium. It just so happens that Cris Carter and I were flying from Florida to Cleveland (Dan Marino was on our flight too!) to go to the Hall of Fame Fan Fest, and Cris was telling me that he was going to the Symposium. I told him that I wish I had the chance to go, and before I could even finish my sentence, he said, "I got you! You're coming on stage with me!"

For so many years I was known as this bold, brash, unapologetic, in-your-face guy...and I figured people were afraid of it. I never ever reached out. So I figured here's my opportunity to be exactly where I want to be because I want to share the knowledge that I have. It's my chance to give back to this game that I love and know so well. I'm so glad I was able to get in front of these kids to say something that I feel was meaningful. I raised hell on the football field and I raised hell in an interview if you weren't factual, but here, I just wanted to give back because this game has been so good to me.

I have goose bumps just thinking about the NFL asking me to come back and talk to the rookies again. I would do it every time and twice on Sunday without question, without even a thought. I've always believed that "from those to whom much is given, much is expected." And the one thing I've always done is give back. I think I have something that they can take because I lived it. All that silly shfrom before, you can't do that now. Trust me, you can't make all the mistakes if you want to be successful, so you want to listen to some people who've done some of the dumb sh already. Everybody likes to watch the train wreck, but nobody wants to be the wreck. That's the key; if you get an opportunity, you have to have something to tell them, and I always felt like I had something to tell them.

Be a pro, and more than that, understand the world you are living in today because it's so visual. I mean, DeSean Jackson helped take himself off a team because of an Instagram post. It's out there. Like I tell my little girl, with all the junk that's around you, you have to find yourself. Don't follow the crowd.

I look for the minuscule things I can talk to these kids about because the little things will turn into a pebble in your shoe...and make a walk uncomfortable.

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