By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Football Editor
The NFLPA Rookie Premiere is underway this week in Los Angeles with 40 NFL rookies checking out their newest trading cards.
The players are signing cards for upcoming products and making their rounds, including ESPN broadcasts and meeting with dealers and fans.
Five rookies were with Panini America promoting the company’s cards on Thursday. Beckett Media had a chance to talk to Mike Glennon, Tavon Austin, E.J. Manuel, Marcus Lattimore and Denard Robinson.
Beckett: How did it feel seeing your Rookie Card for the first time?
Glennon: It was pretty cool. As a kid I collected and I always envisioned myself on a card one day. Now, you finally get to see yourself on one. You’re living out a dream as a kid.
Manuel: When I got my first shipment of cards, I was like “Wow, this is really starting to happen. I’m in the NFL.”
Robinson: It’s ridiculous. It’s crazy. You grow up collecting cards then to see myself on one is a dream come true. I used to collect some baseball and football cards. I used to say (I would be on a card) to my friends and brothers.
Lattimore: You know, it hasn’t sunk in yet. I collected cards when I was a kid. I had all the running backs. I had Barry Sanders, a bunch of different guys. It’s crazy just seeing myself on a card.
Austin: It’s one of the best feelings in my life. You see your name on the screen for the draft and then you see yourself on a card, the way you saw yourself as a kid. It’s one of the best feelings.
Beckett: Did you have you a card collection?
Glennon: I was a pretty big football and basketball guy. I had binders full of them. My mom complained they took up too much space. I loved collecting Michael Jordan. In football, I collected Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, guys of that generation. I used all my allowance buying cards.
Lattimore: I had a lot of baseball cards. If there was one guy I had to have, it was Rickey Henderson. I had a card from every year he had one. That was my favorite.
Beckett: What has the Rookie Premiere been like?
Glennon: I am really looking forward to Saturday when I put on the Tampa Bay Bucs uniform for the first time. It was cool seeing the cards because they Photoshopped me in uniform and I haven’t even seen myself in uniform yet. It’s been something I’ve been looking forward to.
Robinson: It’s fun. I’ve got to meet so many players and just talk to them. I also get to see how their Rookie Cards look.
Lattimore: It’s my first time in Los Angeles. The food is great. It’s definitely exciting to be working with Panini and learning the business side of things.
Beckett: What did you think of the types of cards being made?
Manuel: I was a little surprised. I saw little stitches from jerseys and they put a game jersey into a card because then I had to sign it. There are a lot of newer cards out there.
Austin: I was shocked to see myself in uniform. To see what people can do with computers these days. It’s crazy how they make things happen. But I definitely look good in it.
Beckett: Are you going to collect your own Rookie Cards?
Robinson: Oh yeah. Of course, I am going to get some. I got my first set of Rookie Cards right now. It’s amazing to see all the stuff going in them.
Lattimore: No doubt. You know how I collected all those other guys? Well, I am going to collect these guys’ cards (players at Rookie Premiere). I can say I met them and played with them.