The NFL moved the annual Rookie Symposium to Northeast Ohio in 2012 in part so each of the league’s drafted rookies could visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.
The league scrapped the symposium this year in favor of orientation programs for drafted and undrafted rookies at each team’s facility, but the Browns used a little home-site advantage Thursday to take their rookies 50 or so miles south to the Hall of Fame.
Browns Vice President of Communications Peter John-Baptiste tweeted that the Hall of Fame visit is a “very important component of our rookie transition program. [We] respect and understand the history.”
The NFL made the Hall of Fame visit part of the rookie experience at the urging of Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin, who lamented the league’s decision to eliminate the symposium and the visit to Canton that came with it. Irvin believes too many rookies are motivated by improving their personal and family situations and not enough appreciate the history of the game.
Browns undrafted rookie center Mike Matthews is the son of Hall of Fame center Bruce Matthews, and the Browns tweeted a picture of Mike posing in front of his father’s Hall of Fame bust.