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Rookies won't visit Hall of Fame in 2009

4/30/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

The NFL's program for every rookie to visit the Hall of Fame was deemed a success in 2008, but the program will not be extended to this year.

According to NFL director of player development Chris Henry, the league decided not to send this year's draftees to Canton, Ohio, for 2009. The idea was originally presented by Hall of Fame receiver and former Dallas Cowboy Michael Irvin and approved by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to increase awareness and appreciation for the league's history.

Logistics and the economy had some level of impact on the decision, Henry said.

"We take those things into consideration when we make those decisions, clearly, because at the end of the day we're running a business," Henry said. "But we try not to let those decisions drive what we do and how we do it. So logistically, yeah, it took a lot to get there. But is that [the only reason] why we're not doing it? No. We took a lot of factors into account."

Henry added that the league will include elements of the Hall of Fame into its annual rookie symposium program. This year's event will be held in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., June 28 through July 1 and will have a segment dedicated to knowing the NFL's rich history. Current Hall of Famers are also expected to talk with rookies and share their experiences.

The league's cancellation of rookie trips to Canton wasn't permanent, Henry said, and may be revisited as early as 2010.

"It's one of those things that we won't rule out in the future," Henry said. "I think they [the Hall of Fame] thought it was successful, as did we. So we will take a look at how it works at the symposium this year and we may revisit it. I think we were very pleased with how it went, and we will see what happens in the future."

For more on last year's Hall of Fame program with NFL rookies, check out this link.