The seven Cards' draftees visited Ohio and took part in the annual NFL Rookie Symposium
The last step of the Cardinals' draft picks before breaking for the summer wasn't a strength and conditioning session or a meeting with a position coach.
It was a trip to Ohio, where the NFL Rookie Symposium was held – an annual event meant to underscore to the rookies what they will be facing as professional football players, and how to maximize their time in the league.
"I feel like I got a lot out of it," Cardinals linebacker Markus Golden said. "It was a blessing just to be there. It was not even talking about football but life."
The three-day event was held last week, with the AFC rookies attending at the first part of the week and the NFC coming in for a Thursday-through-Saturday session. The seven Cardinals draft picks – Golden, tackle D.J. Humphries, running back David Johnson, defensive end Rodney Gunter, wide receiver J.J. Nelson, linebacker Shaq Riddick and tight end Gerald Christian – all attended, as
did senior director of player development Anthony Edwards.
The presentations and workshops varied, including time spent on how to manage finances money, how to stay away from domestic violence, how to avoid substance abuse and how to conduct yourself as a pro both on and off the field. There was also advice on how to help teammates who might be having a tough time.
"It's stuff I know but it's stuff I need to know more about," Golden said. "You get a different type of perspective. It takes what I know to a whole new level."
Among the speakers were Hall of Famers like Cris Carter and the Cardinals' own Aeneas Williams. Another speaker was Cardinals veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who was part of a panel talking about "Defining Success" – a subject Fitzgerald can speak on as an expert, having lasted more than a decade in the NFL, banking millions while cultivating a golden reputation.
"I just hope what we talked to the rookies about will be helpful and hopefully make the transition smoother," Fitzgerald said in a text message.
The draftees also took part in a Play 60 kids' camp at the Cleveland Browns training facility, and got a chance to tour the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Hall trip was the highlight for Johnson – "I'm pretty sure all NFL guys want to be (inducted) there when their career is over," he said – as there was a chance to see highlights and records of former players these rookies grew up idolizing and also to see the history of the game.
"I don't know how those guys played back in the day with some of the equipment they were using," Johnson said.
Golden said he actually pulled out his phone and recorded audio of some of the talks, like the one Fitzgerald took part in, as he tries to make sure his career goes smoothly.
"It was amazing," Golden said "It's advice I will take to heart."