DFI Tackles NFL Developmental Dilemma


(INDIO) - The NFL isn't shy about it's urgent need for developmental football.

Troy Vincent, the NFL's vice president of football operations, has long said said his department has performed analysis of potential developmental options, but that nothing has progressed beyond the meeting rooms of the Park Avenue offices to this point.


There has been nothing presented to owners during any meetings going back for nearly a decade. Nothing has ever approached a vote, and the focus the last few years has been on creating a blueprint for a fall academy that could serve to provide meaningful game experience and reps to players, coaches and officials who might not otherwise get any.

"This is the future of football," Vincent told CBS Sports, regarding the need for a developmental cradle for players and team personnel. "These are defining issues for the league. This is the future of football. We're talking about human capital development. How do we cultivate these assets -- on the field and off the field?"

Vincent's department has received considerable support from people like the Rooney family, owners of the Steelers, from Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, as well as from general managers like the Seahawks' John Schneider and the Colts' Ryan Grigson, who have been among the most vocal behind the scenes about finding ways to address these issues.

"In short, we believe further development of the vast pool of football talent is imperative to the future," Vincent says. "We are considering ways to do that economically and effectively, not only for players, but also coaches, trainers, officials and every aspect of the football universe. Their input is important in this development phase."

Each of these critical elements were addressed with great debate, careful planning and strategic resolve in the formulation, and execution, of DFI, according to DFI Commissioner Joel Williams, former program director of the NFLPA.


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