The Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year was a ferocious tackler leading the Alabama Crimson Tide in tackles with 97, 56 solo. All 32 NFL teams are familiar with his ability to patrol the middle but since edge pass rushers and covering in space are two of the most coveted skills in this wide open era of modern football, Reggie Ragland has opted to play on the outside for this game. Versatile linebackers are rewarded with far more lucrative contracts. The strategy to showcase all of his abilities is meant to pay dividends.
Football is the prime reason talented players from across the country gather in the Port City to be evaluated and interviewed by the horde of NFL personnel. Reese’s Senior Bowl Executive Director Phil Savage spoke at a Monday afternoon press conference about three other relevant topics presented to the athletes as they embark on a professional career - media training, community service and money management.
Gerry Matalon, a twenty-seven year former ESPN executive, now a media performance coach, was brought in to instruct the North and South squads on interacting with the fourth estate. Effective communication can assist a prospective athlete. Additionally, all participants are scheduled to visit local elementary schools and area hospitals on Friday. They are encouraged to continue the behavior in the future. “As a pro athlete this is almost a requirement of you. It’s something you should be doing,” Savage emphasized. “We try to give the players a flavor of what it’s going to be like – give them a head start as they begin this new chapter in their lives.”
Morgan Stanley Global Sports & Entertainment (GSE), serving the financial needs of emerging and veteran talent and their advisors in the sports and entertainment industries, has teamed with the Senior Bowl as a new premium sponsor. The division of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management will present a formal financial educational program to all the athletes on Thursday and follow up with their parents as they arrive on Friday and Saturday.
“Over the next few months, the lives of these athletes are going to accelerate from 50 to 100 mph as they prep for their ultimate goal of making the NFL,” said Drew Hawkins, Managing Director and Head Morgan Stanley GSE. “As these young men put all their focus on the field, GSE is partnering with the Senior Bowl to ensure they are also thinking about their finances from the start of their careers – a crucial step in planning for long term success.”
Listen and watch Ragland as he spoke of his Senior Bowl plans. Savage reviews the five Alabama players competing in the game – Ragland and teammates, QB Jacob Coker, RB Kenyan Drake, DL Jarran Reed and CB Cyrus Jones.