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Team | Washington Commanders -

Player Development

The mission of Player Engagement is to challenge National Football League players to be lifelong learners while pursuing continuous improvement in family relations, social interactions, personal growth and career development during and beyond their NFL careers.

Overview of Player Engagement Program

Player Engagement is the hub for a wide range of league-sponsored programs designed to meet the needs of players and their families in today's NFL. Since its inception in 1991, more than 8,500 players and significant others have made use of programs administered by the department. The program strives to deliver a continuum of consistent services (degree completion, internships, life-skills seminars and employee assistance) to all active and practice squad players.

What is Player Engagement?

Player Engagement offers a wide range of programs designed to meet the needs of players and their families in today's NFL. Player Development offers prevention, education and intervention services to all active, practice squad, injured reserve players and significant others.

Retired players can visit for additional support.

Career Transition

Career Transition provides comprehensive career development programs that help players make smooth transitions into and out of professional football. The league assists players with career internships, continuing education, financial education and speaking opportunities. Club directors deliver these services in consultation with human resource professionals, college administrators and financial educators throughout the country.

Career Internships

The NFL Career Internship Program was created in 1991 as an opportunity for active NFL players to gain work experience with businesses and organizations throughout the United States. The NFL Player Development staff manages the program. In conjunction with the club directors from each NFL franchise and participating businesses, the Career Internship Program creates employment opportunities designed to assist players in making the transition out of the NFL into second careers of choice.

Program Components:

  • Training
  • Work Experience
  • Mentoring
  • Evaluation

Continuing Education

The program is designed to assist active NFL players and their spouses with the completion of their undergraduate and graduate degrees and to assist participants in assessing how to best use their education. The program allows participants to enroll at an institution in the home city of their franchise, return to their original institution or enroll in classes in their home city during the offseason.

The NFL Player Engagement staff administers the program by working with colleges and universities across the country to facilitate the application, registration and enrollment process. Once a player is enrolled in school, tutorial and other support services are available.

Qualified active veteran players are eligible for tuition reimbursement after successfully completing class with a "C" or better.

Program Components:

  • Academic Advising
  • Distance Learning
  • Graduate School Advising
  • Tutoring Services
  • Assessment Testing
  • Other Educational Opportunities

Financial Education Program

The Financial Education Program was created in 1991 and designed to help active players become more financially prudent during their career in the NFL and beyond.

Program Components:

  • NFL Rookie Symposium
  • Financial Management Playbook
  • Financial Education Seminars

Player Assistance

The Player Assistance Program is designed to help players and their families connect with resources needed to address personal issues that could interfere with both job performance and overall life satisfaction. Year-round services include NFL individual consultation with players or their family members, referrals to resources (in team and non-team cities) and written educational/informational materials).

Contact: Players or family members can contact their club's Player Engagement Director or the NFL's EAP Manager. Limited information is gathered in order for the program to provide appropriate referrals.

Referrals: As needed, players or family members are referred to screened, licensed, mental-health providers or appropriate agencies for counseling, inpatient treatment or community resource.

Educational/Informational Materials: Lists of local or national resources can be provided (for example, information about adoption or home-care agencies). Also available are educational pamphlets on a range of mental health and work family issues, as well as lists of recommended Web sites and books.

Confidentiality: Use of the Player Assistance Program is strictly confidential, in accordance with legal and ethical standards. Unless written consent is provided or law mandates disclosure, information is not disclosed to anyone.

Training & Development

The department administers initiatives designed to address off-the-field player concerns and individual player development. The primary goal is to provide players with information and exposure to services that will enhance their decision-making abilities.

Training and Development is divided into two components:

NFL Rookie Symposium

The symposium is a four-day orientation for all drafted rookies. League personnel, expert facilitators, trained professionals, active players and former players are involved in delivering a program specially designed to give incoming players detailed information about what they may face during their NFL careers. The program provides an orientation to life in the NFL (league policies, media relations, benefits, etc.) and offers educational life-skills workshops on topics ranging from substance abuse, domestic violence, DUI, gambling, personal finance, associations and family issues.

Club Life-Skills Seminars

Seminars are conducted for all active and practice-squad players during the NFL season. The seminars are designed to assist players in developing skills that will help them manage various off-the-field situations. The program's goal is to help players proactively address issues that may arise during their careers.

​Player Engagement Staff