Rookies Go On Field Trip
June 2 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
Every year, it seems that we learn something new about the 49ers off-season activities. Although the idea of a ‘passing mini-camp’ is somewhat knew, we’ve heard the phrase before. I’d have to say, that we learned something this year though, when the team announced it takes its first year talent to the San Quentin Jail.
This day trip is meant to do a few things for the players and the team. The players have a chance to see just how lucky they are. It gives them a shot of reality after days of playing a game they love, with the chance to earn more money than they can fathom. It also allows the players to see what their life would be like, if they made a few wrong turns along the way. We have to remember that these rookies are indeed youngsters. They range in age, but are for the most part 23-24 years old. It leaves plenty of time for these men to make poor choices about their futures. In visiting the jail, they see reason not to walk down the road less traveled. They begin to understand just how good they have it, and appreciate what comes to them more easily.
For the 49ers, it aids in their investment. The team shells out millions of dollars to sign these players, and naturally want to protect their investment. In the past few weeks we’ve seen two slightly older players on the 49ers make, or allegedly make poor decisions. The 49ers don’t want to have to deal with this type of concern. They pride themselves on being a classy organization with character men people working for them. And so the team hopes that their players walk away from the field trip with a greater understanding of how they as individuals want to live.
The team hopes it enlightens the players with this field trip. They aren’t trying to scare them into line; rather they are trying to show them what could happen with just a few simple misjudgments. The trip affects each player differently, leaving some with an impression they bottle up inside, and swear never to become, and others take what they see try and share with their families and friends just how lucky they are.