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Mandatory Hall of Fame visit scrapped in new rookie program

Mike Florio talks about why the NFL decided to create the rookie transition program and hold it in place of the rookie symposium.

The NFL is replacing the rookie symposium with a new rookie transition program each team will hold in its own facility, and what had become an annual visit to the Pro Football Hall of Fame for all of the league’s drafted rookies is no longer on the itinerary.

The Hall of Fame visit was the brainchild of Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin, who told NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell he believed it was important because too many young players don’t embrace the game’s history.

Under the most recent symposium format, the players stayed in Aurora, Ohio, a Cleveland suburb, and a visit to the Hall of Fame in Canton -- about an hour’s drive south -- was part of the symposium schedule.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed that the Hall of Fame visit is not a part of the new program, under which every team will have mandatory rookie orientation from June 20-22. In an e-mail, McCarthy said “teams will incorporate their own history into the sessions and also include former players in mentoring roles for all their rookies – drafted and undrafted.”

The NFL’s release said the new format “gives clubs the opportunity to customize the orientation program to align with the history and culture of their team, including the use of former players to foster and promote mentoring relationships between incoming rookies and club legends.”