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The NFL Summer Solstice

Random muses during the NFL’s dead time. Jack Bechta

Print This July 09, 2014, 07:00 AM EST

We are right in the middle of a summer solstice of sorts for the new NFL12 month sport. With the entire industry on vacation there is very little going on in the world of pro football. I too am semi-checked out as I pen this post from a café in Istanbul while watching internationals walk the same path as the Ottomans, Romans, Persians and Alexander the Great.

The business of pro football is a small community of coaches, execs, media, scouts, agents and players. It has its own language, understandings and written and unwritten rules. Being such, there is little outside stimulus and exposure to garnering and experiencing intellectual, personal, and worldly growth, especially for the players. The NFL solstice is a great time to get some of that exposure.

Time for some culture: Players grow up in a tight knit bubble. Many of the coaches that influence them have never left the field or the locker room. Everyone they are exposed to on a day-to-day basis has grown up walking the same old football path. The downside is that there aren’t a whole lot of cultural world experiences dripping into the young minds of the players. I for one encourage my players to travel far, read a lot, and develop cerebral hobbies and interests. Unfortunately many players don’t. Nothing educates like visiting different cultures and countries.

The Babineaux brothers, Jonathan and Jordan are an exception to the rule. They have travel far and wide and even produced a movie. Dhani Jones turned his passion for travel into a second career while still playing in the NFL. Players only have two windows to travel. One in February and March, and the second in late June to early July. However, many are afraid to leave the country with the physical demands of camp on the horizon.

Players can follow the lead of their owners. While staying in Sothern Turkey last week (Bodrum area, which I highly recommend everyone put on their travel list), I noticed an NFL owner and his family at the next table. They were traveling around by yacht but the cultural effort was there.

I think players get in trouble, spend their money and get unmotivated when they don’t go anywhere or do anything this time of year.

Jacksonville to London: The more I hear, see and understand what the NFL is trying to do with marketing their product; the more I see a team playing half their season in London. It’s a reality and will happen in the next five to seven years. We all know the Jags are the prime candidate. This is actually a good thing for the NFL and our favorite sport.

Rehab: The hardest working people in football during this time of year are the players who are rehabbing their injuries from last season trying to get ready for camp. There is no vacation. They push every day and it’s a race to get healthy. Many are forgotten names but for most of them their work will pay off and they will have a chance to continue their career.

Agents can never totally check out: Although I am traveling the world my phone is always on and I stay tethered to my clients. Every agent has to or they will find themselves selling insurance (no offense to insurance agents as we need you guys too). Nothing bothers a player more than not having their phone call returned immediately.

As for me, back to my Turkish coffee and Efes.

Follow me on Twitter: @Jackbechta

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