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2005 Reebok NFL Players Rookie Premiere Presented by EA Sports

Reebok NFL Players Rookie Premiere presented by EA Sports Twenty-nine of the top 2005 NFL draft picks gathered in Los Angeles this past weekend for the annual Reebok NFL Players Rookie Premiere presented by EA Sports and produced by PLAYERS INC. The event was also sponsored by trading card companies Donruss/Playoff, Topps and Upper Deck, and by Pepsi.

The rookies, including first-overall draft pick and 49ers quarterback Alex Smith, put on their official team uniforms for the first time as they participated in a series of photo shoots for football trading card companies Donruss Playoff, Topps and Upper Deck. The shoots ranged from standard portrait and action shots to more unique concepts involving running, jumping and diving.

"Putting on that jersey for the first time was great," said Eagles rookie running back Ryan Moats. "It really helped things sink in with being a player in the NFL. I've always wanted my own football card and now I have one."

In addition to the photo shoots, which took place on the field of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Saturday and Sunday, rookies visited two local hobby shops on Thursday one in Beverly Hills and one in South Bay to sign autographs, meet fans and pose for photographs.

The rookies also underwent head scans from video game sponsor EA Sports for use in the 2006 version of Madden football. The head scans will help EA provide lifelike versions of the rookies in the next version of the top-selling sports video game.

On Friday afternoon, Smith, Titans cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones and Vikings wide receiver Troy Williamson led a group of local youth in skills and drills competitions in the Reebok kids' clinic, also at the LA Coliseum. Children ages 8-14 who registered at nearby Kids Foot Locker stores upon a purchase of RBK licensed product between May 16 and through May 19 were eligible to participate.

"Rookies always look forward to being part of this event," said Pat Allen, COO of PLAYERS INC. "Not only is it the first time they wear their official team uniforms, but they are also excited about seeing their very first football trading card."

A new addition to this year's event was Pepsi, who utilized the Rookie Premiere to launch its "Rookie of the Week" and "Rookie of the Year" programs, season-long promotions where fans can vote on for their favorite rookie. When the rookies first arrived at the event, they campaigned through video testimonials to win fans' votes as the 2005 Pepsi Rookie of the Year.

The top response, offered by Eagles wide receiver Reggie Brown, was awarded a personalized Pepsi vending machine presented by NFL Network host Rich Eisen at a welcome reception on Friday night at the Westin Century City hotel. The vending machine, which will be delivered to Brown's home, features an enlarged trading card image of Brown and will be stocked with Pepsi products for the entire 2005 NFL season.

Friday night's welcome reception concluded with the "Rookie Madden Bowl," when rookies challenged each other to Madden NFL 2005. Ravens wide receiver Mark Clayton defeated Packers wide receiver Terrence Murphy in the final round and did not get scored upon throughout the tournament. "I play a lot of video games and mostly I play Madden and other sports games," Clayton said. "So that came in handy."

The week's activities were filmed for a one-hour television special, produced by PLAYERS INC and the NFL Network. Hosted by Eisen and former NFL wide receiver Sterling Sharpe, the show will air repeatedly on NFL Network starting in July.

Date: May 25, 2005

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