With a title like that, you probably figured this was some kind of UCLA football recruiting post about us landing, say, Shaq Thompson or Barry Sanders Jr. Nope. As the Daily Bruin and NBC Sports both noted, the NFL held its Rookie Premiere flag football game at UCLA's North Athletic Field. The rookie participants was an impressive collection of elite college talent:
Attending the event were Chiefs receiver Jon Baldwin, Chargers receiver Vincent Brown, Colts running back Delone Carter, Packers receiver Randall Cobb, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert, Dolphins receiver Edmond "Clyde" Gates, Bengals receiver A.J. Green, Packers running back Alex Green, Redskins receiver Leonard Hankerson, Titans running back Jamie Harper, 49ers running back Kendall Hunter, Saints running back Mark Ingram, Giants receiver Jerrel Jernigan, Falcons receiver Julio Jones, Raiders running back Taiwan Jones, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Lions running back Mikel Leshoure, Browns receiver Greg Little, Titans quarterback Jake Locker, Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett, Broncos linebacker Von Miller, Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray, [Panthers quarterback Cam] Newton, Rams receiver Austin Pettis, Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder, Jets running back Bilal Powell, Patriots running back Stevan Ridley, Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph, Smith, Dolphins running back Daniel Thomas, Chargers running back Jordan Todman, Patriots running back Shane Vereen, Cardinals running back Ryan Williams, and Lions receiver Titus Young.
But, fortunately, despite no former Bruins behind among the rookie participants, the Bruins were still represented at the event on campus:
Already an established player as a professional, [Maurice] Jones-Drew was on scene to assist this year’s crop of incoming rookies on their transition to the NFL. But Jones-Drew’s main responsibility was as a coach in the Celebrity v. Legends flag football game, which also included former Bruins Steve Bono and Ryan Nece.
It's always great to see MJD coming back to Westwood.
Unfortunately, it didn't seem like very many Bruins were interested in getting a chance to see future NFL players mix it up on campus:
Despite the presence of several prominent NFL legends, including Hall of Famer Warren Moon, as well as 36 rookies, fan attendance for the event was relatively small, not even filling up the North Athletic Field bleachers.
Somewhat disappointing that this kind of event couldn't generate more interest on campus. If anything, it makes one wonder why Morgan Center didn't promote it. Yes, it's not a UCLA Athletics event, but driving up general interest in sports and football (especially) seems to translate into a better relationship with these kind of events (which gives UCLA more exposure) and has the potential to engage otherwise apathetic fans (who may, in turn, come out for UCLA football events).
In any event, exciting to see the NFL at UCLA and to see some special Bruins return, even if just to coach a flag football game.