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Chargers' Rookies End Important Week at Hoag Performance Center


The 28 members of the Bolts' rookie class fill the rows in the team meeting room, their eyes in rapt attention to the speaker at the front of the room.

No, this isn't Head Coach Anthony Lynn addressing the team. 

Instead, it's one of several speakers brought in to help ease their transition from college to the NFL. 

While the rookies spent the past two months acclimating to the game itself, this week was devoted to getting them accustomed to life off the field through the Rookie Experience Transition Program. According to the them, it's been a week as vital as any since they joined the team.

"This was a really good and helpful week," said second-round pick Uchenna Nwosu. "We've been able to get together more and bond as a brotherhood. This helps a lot just to be able to know what to expect going into the real world. Being away from your family and with people we're not used to being around. Things we don't know about. Having this extra knowledge is helping to prepare for real life."

"This is helping us get prepared for the future, what we need to do and what to look out for," added fourth-round selection Kyzir White. "This gives us a heads up on a bunch of different things. There are a bunch (that resonated) with me. It's really about being smart off the field."

Over the course of the week, the 2018 Rookie Class participated in various team bonding activities. Take a look at the best shots.

Simply put, there is far more that rookies need to learn once they enter the NFL than just a new playbook.

What's the best way to manage their money?

What type of investment opportunities are out there?

How should they handle their newfound fame under the spotlight as an NFL player?

"This is a very important week because it allows the rookies to get a greater understanding of what it means to be a professional as they navigate being a pro," said Senior Director of Player Engagement Arthur Hightower, who tailor-fitted the program from scratch to meet the Chargers' needs. "How do they handle the expectations that come with it?"

This marks the third year of the program's existence.

Before 2016, the NFL invited those who were drafted to Canton, Ohio to undergo a Rookie Symposium. However, with so many entering the NFL as undrafted free agents, the decision was made to have teams bring the program in-house and mandatory for all rookies.

"Getting to this in-house to reach the entire rookie class was important," Hightower explained. "It shares those skills with everyone. A few years ago, Jahleel Addae wasn't able to go through this process because he wasn't drafted. I spoke to the league to have him be a panelist the following year, and he went and talked to the rookies about how they should take advantage of it because he wasn't able to. And now guys like him are able to. Guys like Trevor Williams and Austin Ekeler were able to have this the last few years when they wouldn't have before."

It also made more sense to do it locally compared to Canton, which is why Hightower believes this year's rookie class is as prepared as any over his Chargers' tenure.

"It lets us reach out to the local resources and those who will be involved with here on an everyday basis," Hightower continued. "They're the ones who will actually be dealing with them and will be around for them.   We just want guys to have the tools they need to be successful. Everything is important, so the biggest thing is for them to grow as pros and take all this knowledge and put it in their toolbox. So when it comes time to use a screwdriver, they use a screwdriver. When they've got to use a hammer, they use a hammer. When they need to pull out measuring tape, they pull out measuring tape. That when it's time to use each tool, that they have it."

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