CLEVELAND — There were 253 players selected in the 2012 NFL Draft. Every one of them will be in Northeast Ohio this week.
The NFL Rookie Symposium is being held at the Bertram Inn in Aurora, where each draftee will receive a crash course in preparing for their new lives as professional athletes.
NFC rookies began their four-day stay at the private conference center Sunday, while AFC rookies will attend the 15th annual event from Wednesday through Saturday. This marks the first time that the Browns are serving as the host team.
“You’ve got one hell of an opportunity. Enjoy the ride,” Eagles quarterback Michael Vick said Monday during his address to the players. “Once this is over, it’s over.
“I’ve seen a lot of dudes come and go, and I’m blessed God gave me the talent to still be here. But don’t take this for granted.”
Among the other featured speakers are Bengals cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones, Hall of Fame defensive lineman Carl Eller and Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin — all of whom, like Vick, are as well known for their transgressions off the field as their on-field success.
Though NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is not scheduled to attend, his name has popped up in the majority of the presentations.
“Fellas, don’t get it twisted, this man is the real deal,” Vick said of Goodell. “He don’t play. If he asks you a question, answer with honesty. Tell him the truth. If you get into some trouble, be honest, truthful, forthright.
“He’ll love you to death, but the minute you cross him, he’ll be all the way turned up.”
The rookies’ itinerary also includes some fun activities, including a visit to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton and a trip to the Browns’ team headquarters in Berea for a “Play 60” youth football clinic.
The “Play 60” sessions — today for the NFC, Friday for the AFC — will include 300 local children and a post-practice barbeque at the Browns’ training facility.
The Browns also made news on the business side of their operation Monday by announcing a change in their premium dining concessionaire at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Aramark and the franchise have launched the Cleveland Browns Hospitality Group, which will provide all club and suite level food service. Levy Restaurants had held the contract since 1999 when the lakefront stadium opened.
As part of the switch, nationally renowned Cleveland chefs Michael Symon and Rocco Whalen will open theme restaurants on both club levels. Symon and Whalen already operate restaurants inside Quicken Loans Arena under the Aramark umbrella.
“Based on what our fans have told us, we believe these changes will be a big success,” Browns president Mike Holmgren said.
Delaware North remains the general concessionaire for the non-club/suite levels at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Its Sportservice subsidiary holds the general concession, premium dining and catering rights at Progressive Field.
Contact Brian Dulik at email@example.com.