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NFL rookie symposium could be canceled

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Alex Marvez

Alex Marvez is a Senior NFL Writer for FOXSports.com. He has covered the NFL for the past 18 seasons as a beat writer and is the former president of the Pro Football Writers of America. He also is a frequent host on Sirius XM NFL Radio.

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A program designed to help incoming draft picks adjust to life in the NFL will be canceled if the league's work stoppage continues.

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An NFL spokesman told FOXSports.com that the annual rookie symposium won't be held unless a new collective bargaining agreement is reached between the league and NFL Players Association.

The symposium was started in 1997 to offer financial, personal and professional advice to incoming draft picks — many of whom may not be prepared to handle the newfound wealth, attention and responsibilities that come with being an NFL player. Topics included sessions on wealth management, substance abuse, offseason internships to prepare for life after football, and discussions with past and present players. Members from both the NFL and NFLPA, including respective leaders Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith, also spoke to players.

The event was considered so important that attendance for every draft pick was mandatory. More than 250 players attended last June's four-day symposium in Carlsbad, Calif.

The NFL lockout also will prevent teams from holding their own rookie seminars prior to the symposium. An NFL spokesman said any contact between clubs and their picks will be prohibited after the draft concludes on April 30.

Some top prospects already are being caught in the crossfire of labor bickering with the NFLPA reportedly considering holding a rival draft event to the NFL's annual gala in New York City.

The NFL locked out its players last Friday after the previous CBA expired and the NFLPA decertified as a players' union following failed labor talks. This resulted in the league's first work stoppage since 1987.

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