Freeman Like 'Rookie' at Broadcast Bootcamp

Former Packers receiver Antonio Freeman talks about his latest challenge as part of a future Packer Report Magazine story on Freeman's impressive work off the field.

Antonio Freeman has spent the last three NFL seasons working Comcast SportsNet's pre- and postgame coverage of the Washington Redskins.

Freeman wasn't satisfied being a third-round pick by the Green Bay Packers in 1995 and he's not satisfied with where he's at as a broadcaster.

Thus, Freeman is among the former NFL players who are at this week's Broadcast Bootcamp. Another of them is the man who presented Freeman for induction into the Packers Hall of Fame in 2009, former Packers long snapper and current director of player development Rob Davis.

"That would be nice!" Freeman said when asked if he'd like to work as analysts in a three-man booth with Davis.

The bootcamp runs June 20 through June 23 at NFL Films in Mount Laurel, N.J.

"I feel like I'm a rookie all over again," Freeman said recently. "I can learn some things in this Broadcast Bootcamp from some people and can get a boost with what I want to do."

Freeman applied last year but didn't make the cut, with the league selecting 10 former players and 10 current players. With the lockout barring any current players from participating, the NFL selected 16 former players. The other 14 are Tony Banks, Anthony Becht, LeCharles Bentley, Rocky Boiman, Barrett Brooks, Nick Ferguson, John Fina, Dustin Fox, Drew Henson, Dan Klecko, Caleb Miller, Amani Toomer, Tony Stewart and Maurice Williams.

Among the media big shots at the event are CBS's James Brown, ESPN's Ron Jaworski, NFL Network's Mike Mayock and NFL Films' Greg Cosell.

The program is directed by the NFL Player Engagement and NFL Broadcasting departments and covers a wide range of topics with instructors from each of the NFL's broadcast partners — CBS, ESPN, FOX, NBC, NFL Network, SiriusXM Radio, Westwood One Radio, plus local radio and TV. It includes hands-on work in areas such as tape study, editing, show preparation, radio production, control room operation, studio preparation, production meetings, field reporting and game preparation. Each player will tape segments as a studio and game analyst and take part in a networking session with television executives.  Each player also will serve as a live radio host on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

"I expect them to pick me apart just like I was a rookie," Freeman said. "I'll use those skills to become a bigger and better sports analyst and step out of the wings of being a local Redskins guy and be a national guy. That's my hopes."

Of the 90 players who took part in the Broadcast Boot Camp from 2007 through 2010, 36 have earned broadcasting jobs as a result of their participation in the program.

Freeman's goal is to land a gig with one of the major networks for their Sunday game coverage and to bolster his talents as a public speaker as part of his work with his BMoreFree86 Foundation, which we'll detail in a future story in Packer Report Magazine.

"I dream big," he said. "I dreamt big as a rookie, being the 90th selection for the Green Bay Packers in 1995. My philosophy can't change. I have to dream big and I have to think big. I'm trying to put the next 20 years of my life in motion."


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport.


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