Rose Bowl
Photo by John Schreiber.

The seventh annual NFL players’ union all-star Collegiate Bowl will be played Jan. 20 at the Rose Bowl after the first six editions were played at StubHub Center.

“When the San Diego Chargers relocated to Los Angeles and StubHub Center became their home field, it opened up an opportunity for us to explore new options for our game site,” said Teri Smith, NFLPA Collegiate Bowl director and deputy managing director of the NFL Players Association, which organizes the college football all-star game.

“The Rose Bowl’s rich football history at both the professional and collegiate levels makes it a perfect fit for our game, which continues to grow every year.”

The union announced Wednesday the game coaches will be former St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz and Pro Football Hall of Fame cornerback Darrell Green.

Martz has coached Team National to victories each of the past three years. Green has been an assistant coach in the game, connecting with players through stories about being overlooked out of college and consistently tabbed as undersized, Smith said.

Nearly 200 scouts, player personnel staff, general managers and head coaches from all 32 NFL teams are expected be in attendance to watch practices and interview players.

Tarik Cohen, a  5-foot-6-inch running back, said the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl helped him be chosen in the fourth round of April’s NFL draft by the Chicago Bears.

With my circumstances in being a small guy from a (historically black university) like North Carolina A&T, the odds were stacked against me,” said Cohen, who is third among rookie running backs with 28 receptions and on Oct. 15 became the shortest player since 1934 to throw a touchdown pass in an NFL game.

Playing in the Collegiate Bowl helped get me the looks I needed, along with great advice from coaches, to be in the position I am today.”

The union also conducts educational seminars — dubbed NFLPA U — on the nights leading up to the game where players learn about agents, financial management and rising to (the) professional ranks,” Smith told City News Service.

Game week activities also include a panel discussion with active NFL players “so that the collegiate players can get the real deal” about joining the NFL, Smith said.

 —City News Service

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