When the Jets' rookie transition program reached its midway point Wednesday, the Green & White boarded buses and headed over to the Giants Quest Diagnostic Training Center.
"It's going be a great opportunity to bring both teams together," said Jets director of player development Dave Szott. "We're going to take the opportunity to show our rookies MetLife Stadium while we're there too. We'll show them where they're going to be playing for years to come."
The Giants arrived at the Atlantic Health Training Center on Tuesday as rookies from both clubs listened to presentations on substances of abuse, performance-enhancing drugs, personal conduct and mental health. They also learned about the NFL Players Association's role in regards to medical and disability benefits and finances in a wellness presentation.
"Some of this is repetitive and they're going to turn to me say we went over this," Szott said. "I think people have to understand that sometimes it's not the first presentation or the first conversation. The way the next presenter approaches this certain point may click for one of your teammates that didn't before. I hope all 22 are able now at some point to glean from the information and grow up from it and also learn from their counterparts in the Giants of maybe something that doesn't exist in this building. To be able to understand something different from a teammate or a fellow NFL rookie on another team that they didn't understand. And that'll happen."
The NFL is a melting pot of different races, ethnicities and beliefs. The Jets have three rookies — punters Lachlan Edwards and Tom Hackett along with DE Helva Matungulu — who did not grow up in the United States.
"Our players come from all walks of life, all different kinds of cultures. We have two Australians on our roster," Szott said of the punting pair. "We have a guy who was born in America but spent a considerable amount of time in Kenya. I can't predict or have any understanding of the background or culture they grew up in."
Szott and player development manager Montelle Sanders know the Jets' rookies perhaps better than anyone.
"I've spent eight weeks with them. I'm excited to expose them to some of the speakers that they haven't had," Szott said of the transition program. "All the content they're about to get, some of it we've covered, but we haven't had a survivor of domestic violence get in front of them and share her experience, her perspective. We talked about it, talked about healthy and unhealthy relationships, had counselors come in and do our sessions, but not a survivor come up and share. I'm excited and I'm excited to see how they interact with our Giants counterparts."
No matter the location, this week has been about exposure. Over the past couple of months, the young Jets have become professionals and that means more responsibility on and off the field.
"It's important to have them spend this time on domestic violence, sexual assault, help the unhealthy relationships and how it should be addressed, financial matters, budgeting. One of our players, this is his first job ever." Szott said. "They've never been issued a W-2, never dealt with taxes. We have the local representative from MADD coming in to talk about drunk driving. We're kind of on lockdown and then a presenter, a survivor, gets up and shares a moment that'll resonate with somebody and it goes to the next level. I'm hoping to get to the next level with their understanding of these areas that we're going to cover"