The fifth annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, which gives football players who recently completed their college careers opportunities to impress NFL personnel and learn about off-field aspects of the league, will be played Saturday at StubHub Center.
All 32 NFL teams had representatives at the practices that began on Monday, with about 200 scouts, coaches and executives in attendance, according to Jilane Rodgers, the communications manager for the NFL Players Association, which organized the game and is the union representing the league’s players.
The NFLPA conducts the game in an attempt to introduce its more than 100 players to the association and business of the NFL, said George Atallah, the union’s assistant executive director of external affairs.
In the week leading up to the game, the players attend presentations from current and former players, union officials and others on topics including life skills, money management, the business of football, media and personal security.
Ray Rice, who hasn’t played in the NFL since his 2014 indictment for third-degree aggravated assault in a domestic violence case, was on a panel of NFL players telling game participants about the transition from college to the NFL and things they wish they knew when they entered the league, Rodgers told City News Service.
Terrell Watson, the MVP of the 2015 Collegiate Bowl, said he learned “a lot” in the pregame sessions about “the NFL life outside of football, what to look out for, how to handle your money when you have a lot of money, who to keep in and out of your circle.”
The game’s alumni includes Kansas City Chiefs receiver Chris Conley, New York Giants receiver Geremy Davis and Arizona Cardinals linebacker Zack Wagenmann.
The players are divided into National and American teams, like the NFL’s conferences.
Mike Holmgren, who coached the Green Bay Packers to a victory in Super Bowl XXXI in 1997, will coach the American team.
Mike Martz, who coached the St. Louis Rams in their loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002, will coach the National team.
The assistant coaches include three members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Darrell Green, Andre Reed and Jackie Slater, former California and Washington coach Keith Gilbertson, and Nolan Cromwell, a defensive back with the Los Angeles Rams from 1977 to 1987.
Rice is a running backs coach for the National team.
The American team includes USC defensive tackle Antwaun Woods and defensive end Greg Townsend Jr., UCLA receiver Devin Fuller, and quarterbacks Travis Wilson (Utah), a San Clemente High graduate, and Stephen Rivers (Northwestern State), a brother of San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.
The National team includes quarterback Trevone Boykin — who was suspended by Texas Christian University for the Alamo Bowl following his arrest on suspicion of assault on a public servant for allegedly punching a police officer in connection with a fight outside a bar in San Antonio two days before the game — Azusa Pacific cornerback Josh Atkinson and offensive tackle Paul Flores.
A FanFest will be held from 2-5 p.m. with fans and collectors having the opportunities to receive free autographs from such NFL players as Philadelphia Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor, Detroit Lions running back Ameer Abdullah and Minnesota Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs, and purchase trading cards and memorabilia.
—City News Service