This blog was written by Maxx Williams and was originally posted on Sportsblog.
My experience at the NFL Rookie Symposium was really educational. Hearing from the vets who came back to talk to us, hearing about the resources we have on the team and league level, hearing about how to take care of our bodies, and hearing about what the month of July should be like for us…it was all very helpful. And we had time to ask the vets questions personally.
It was really cool that Justin Forsett was here speaking to us. He didn't tell any of us that he would be out here! It was good to hear from an actual current teammate, especially knowing that he battled for so many years and found his place on the Ravens. He talked about what he's done, how he's always ready to go, and when his time came, he made the most of it. To have so many hard times in your career and still find a way to battle back every year, move forward and forward, and finally get an opportunity…it's inspiring.
Just about every single vet here talked about nutrition. They really stressed the importance of taking care of your body by watching what you eat and staying hydrated. Those things really affect you, especially when it comes down to the fourth quarter and late in practice when you're energy is lower and maybe you're dealing with cramping.
This July I'm really going to buckle down and focus on getting my eating habits right. I've never been a big fruit or vegetable guy (I mean, I'd eat it if it was there), but I'm going to start eating more of that. And I'm going to eat chicken and fish instead of red meats and really watch the fats and sugars in my diet. I'm going to try and eat as healthy as I can.
I am fortunate because my Dad, who played in the league, has been a huge influence on me throughout my sports career since I was little. He's taught me what hard work means and how, on this level, everyone has strength and speed. So you really have to worry about your technique. And it's the dedication of your off-the-field work (studying the playbook, taking care of your body, being a professional) that helps you succeed.
And then here at the Rookie Symposium, I'm learning about other things, like finances, budgeting and how there are guys on the team to help you out. That was huge. Back when my Dad played (from 88-99), they didn't have these kinds of resources. A lot of it was about figuring it out on your own. Now we do have people who are there for us.
I'm excited! I'm looking forward to seeing what camp brings and what the season holds. For me, I have the month of July to put in as much work as I can so I am in the best shape possible – even better shape than in OTAs and mini-camp. I'll be ready to show Baltimore that they drafted me for a reason and I'm excited to be there!