Even though it was his first year in the league, the event is for players selected in the NFL Draft.
But after turning in an outstanding 2013 campaign with the Chargers, the NFL invited the safety to Canton this year to address the 2014 rookies. As part of a four man panel, the safety spoke for 30 minutes and by all accounts was one of the highlights of the symposium.
Addae relished the opportunity to share his experience for all the attendees while dishing out advice. His main motivation was to let the youngsters know that while they’ve achieved their dream of reaching the NFL, they need to grind hard day in and day out in order to stay in the league and be successful.
“My main goal was to tell them that this is their job now, and it’s a 24/7 job,” he explained. “Football is your life and it is a job that everyone wants, so you have to hustle. You need to take care of your body on the field and off of it. Stay in your playbook and work hard on special teams. And of course live humbly and do all the right things. You’re in a glass bowl now and the whole world is watching what you do. So I just tried to give them advice, and let them know to lean on the vets as well because they’ve been through it all.”
Undrafted free agents face the steepest odds of any sport in making a final roster. Addae was a major success story a year ago, appearing in every game with two starts and totaling 38 tackles, three passes defensed and one sack. He had a tremendous postseason as well in which he forced a fumble and recovered another. Clearly, the 5-10, 195-pound safety proved he belongs in this league despite being bypassed in the draft, which is one reason why he cherished the chance to speak at this year’s symposium after not being invited to last year’s.
“It was a blessing to be able to speak to the rookies,” he said. “Drafts come and go and I can’t worry about whether I was drafted or not. I can only control what I can control, and that was the opportunity that the San Diego Chargers gave me. So that is something else that I passed along when I spoke. I told them not to worry about their reputations. No matter what, you still have to give 110% effort. Play fast, play physical and play smart and you’ll be fine.”