Texarkana Gazette

Ex-NFL players hold mentoring sessions with prospects

- By John Zenor

MOBILE, Ala. — Senior Bowl players are spending their days this week meeting with NFL teams and getting practice instructio­ns from NFL coaches. They get a different sort of tutorial in the evenings.

Former NFL players including Tony Richardson and Pro Football Hall of Famer

Aeneas Williams serve as mentors for the prospects ahead of Saturday’s game. This year, that means virtual sessions on Wednesday and Thursday that are meant to help them adjust to life in the league — including handling the financial windfall some can expect.

“There will be some guys that are first-rounders and that first check could be $2 million and you’re looking at it like, ‘Oh my goodness, what am I going to do with this?’” said Richardson, a fullback who played 17 seasons among four NFL teams.

He didn’t face that problem coming out of Auburn in 1994 as an undrafted free agent, making $65,000 on the practice squad and feeling “rich.” Then Richardson learned about taxes and that the checks had to stretch out through the year, not just the season.

Most of the Senior Bowl players will make plenty more than that, and face a different set of challenges.

“It’s just making sure you have the right people around you, because we always tell these young people that once you sign that first NFL contract, you become a corporatio­n,” Richardson said. “And every corporatio­n has different people that work for your corporatio­n.”

That means tasks like hiring a financial advisor, an accountant and someone to help project their desired image. Richardson said he still texts Las Vegas Raiders fullback and 2019 Senior Bowl alum Alec

Ingold before each game and watches his film.

The NFL said former players participat­ing in the virtual sessions at the EastWest Shrine Game included Shaq Barrett, Nate Burleson, Cris Carter, Nick Mullens, Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff and Justin Simmons. The sessions were also conducted ahead of the East-West Shrine Game last week.

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