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O'HARA: Rookies participating in NFL transition program

The Detroit Lions rookies ended their first offseason program by participating in the NFL's newly implemented rookie transition program that exposes them to a diverse range of skills that includes managing the time demands of being a pro athlete, financial planning and proper dining etiquette.

There is even a primer on the proper way to tie a necktie.

In addition to what they learned, the 2016 rookie class hopes it made an impact on the youngsters they mentored in the Detroit Police Athletic League Education fundamentals camp at Detroit Renaissance High School Thursday.

About 100 youngsters from the PAL programs went through two hours of drills with coaching help from the Lions' rookie class – 10 draft picks plus the undrafted free agents.

The Lions' mandatory minicamp ended last week. The rookies were held over an extra week to take part in the transition program.

Dr. Galen Duncan, the Lions' senior director of player development, was impressed with the maturity this year's group of players has exhibited.

"I keep saying this every year, that this has been my best year," said Duncan, who's been with the Lions for a decade. "And every year I tell the truth."

Chris Fritzsching, the Lions' director of football education, led the workout program. The enthusiasm of the Lions' rookies matched that of the young players they helped coach.

Offensive tackle Taylor Decker, the Lions' first-round pick from Ohio State, recalled the help he got growing up in Ohio.

"We have an incredible platform, getting to be professional athletes," Decker said. "I came from high school football, middle school football, pee wee football. I came from that, too. I'm not going to forget that.

"It's important to give back. Kids will listen to you. If you can make an impact on them and help their future, it's important to do that.

"I just remember being around those older people and coaches. It was impactful for me."

Defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson, the second-round pick from Alabama, talked about what he imparted to the kids – and what he learned in the transition program.

"Honestly, I'm just trying to enhance their skills, tune them up, make them better," Robinson said. "I learned a lot. I learned how to manage my time and how I do things – take care of my business."

He did not need instructions on how to tie a tie, Robinson said. He started tying his own bow ties in high school in Fort Worth, but he's switched.

"Everyone wears bow ties now," Robinson said. "I wear skinny ties."

Offensive lineman Graham Glasgow, a third-round pick from Michigan, said he struggled with learning to tie a bow tie.

"It didn't get better the second time," Glasgow said. "It got worse."

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