ENGLEWOOD, Colo. - NFL rookies are ditching their textbooks for playbooks and getting their first taste of what it'll be like playing for paychecks instead of school pride.
Twenty-three teams wrap-ped up their three-day rookie camps Sunday. The others held theirs last week.
Until now, football was their pastime; now it's their profession.
Former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te‘o just completed rookie camp with the San Diego Chargers.
NFL teams give their draft picks and college free agents a head start before veterans return today for the start of "Phase 3" offseason workouts that feature Organized Team Activities.
For players, it's their first chance to see what the pros are all about. Coaches get their first look at the new crop of college players their personnel departments have studied for months.
As Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said, "It's like opening a present at Christmas time."
Rookies arrived at their new jobs for physicals and fittings. They picked their jersey numbers and lockers before gathering for introductions.
They toured team headquarters, checked out weight rooms and some even signed their first contracts.
"I was like a little kid. As soon as I put the jersey on, the shorts, the cleats, I wanted to take all types of pictures and send them to my friends," said Broncos running back Montee Ball, who starred at Wisconsin. "But it's all about business."
The actual practices and position drills were what the weekend was mostly about.
For some, such as Manti Te'o, a Punahou School and Notre Dame alumnus, it was all about a fresh start.
"I'm here to play football," Te'o said after practicing for the first time with the San Diego Chargers, determined to push his infamous girlfriend hoax and his lackluster national championship play into the rearview mirror. "I'm not focusing on what is going on on the outside. I'm worried about what we're doing here in San Diego and I'm looking forward to when the veterans come in on Monday."