NFL players become BGSU ‘students’ at communications boot camp

BOWLING GREEN, O.—Bowling Green State University has some unusual “summer school” students this week. Twenty-three current and former NFL players — including 12-year NFL veteran Charlie Batch, 2012 Patriots Hall of Fame inductee Troy Brown, and 2001 Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch — are attending the first-ever NFL Sports Journalism and Communications Boot Camp, from May 13-16.

Hosted by the BGSU School of Media and Communications and the Sport Management program, the program is designed to help prepare the athletes for careers following their active playing days.

The four-day program focuses on improving each player’s writing skills for newspapers, radio and the expanding digital media industry. A field exercise at a Toledo Mud Hens home game will include a mock press conference as part of each player’s game coverage. Players will write and record their own radio commentary as part of one of the other planned exercises.

Faculty for the boot camp include Ed Bouchette (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), Peter King (Sports Illustrated, NBC), and Barry Wilner (Associated Press), as well as former NFL players-turned-journalists Solomon Wilcots (CBS, NFL Network), Matt Bowen (Chicago Tribune), Matt Chatham (Boston Herald), and Bucky Brooks ( and NFL Network).

With the new longer offseason, the boot camp is one of a record 10 training programs for post-NFL careers that NFL Player Engagement offers to current and former players. The boot camp was developed with NFL Player Engagement, under the auspices of the Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Project.

“BGSU is both honored and thrilled to welcome the inaugural NFL Sports Journalism and Communication Boot Camp to our campus,” said Dr. Terry Rentner, a professor and director of the BGSU School of Media and Communications. “We have both highly skilled professors and alumni teaching interactive sessions and providing excellent instruction in the fast-changing sports media industry.”

Player enrollment criteria include previous participation in NFL Player Engagement programs, prior media experience, essays, and NFL playing experience.

Following are the NFL players participating in the NFL Sports Journalism and Communications Boot Camp:


Current/Former team(s)

Brendon Ayanbadejo

Free agent

Charlie Batch

Free agent

Ralph Brown

Former (NYG, MIN, CLV, ARZ)

Troy Brown

Former (NE)

LaMar Campbell

Former (DET)

Bryon Chamberlain

Former (DEN, MIN, WAS)

Eric Crouch

Former (STL)

Derrick Dockery

Free Agent

Leger Douzable

Free Agent

Jamie Duncan

Former (TB, STL, ATL)

Andre Fluellen


Jay Foreman

Former (BUF, HOU, NYG, SF)

Nick Ferguson

Former (NYJ, DEN, HOU)

Kendall Gammon

Former (PIT, NO, KC)

Ken Hamlin

Former (SEA, DAL, BAL, IND)

Erin Henderson


Tyoka Jackson

Former (MIA, TB, STL, DET)

Austen Lane


Ovie Mughelli

Former (BAL, ATL)

Brady Poppinga

Free Agent

Denard Walker

Former (TEN, DEN, MIN, OAK)

Ellis Wyms

Former (TB, SEA, MIN)

Michael Young

Former (ARZ)

Updated: 05/30/2019 01:11PM