Gallery: Panini America’s Fun-Filled Friday at the 2013 NFLPA Rookie Premiere

May 18, 2013

Panini America 2013 NFLPA Rookie Premiere Friday (89)

LOS ANGELES — At one table, Denard Robinson played “MC Shoelace” and Quinton Patton spun the wheels of steel in a signing room they came to call “Club Panini.” At another, Matt Barkley discussed wedding plans across the room from Knile Davis and Tavon Austin, who quietly signed autographs while rapt in their new Panini America Skullcandy Crushers. Minutes later, Manti Te’o free-handed a colorful Chargers lightning bolt, Cordarrelle Patterson wielded an NFLPA photographer’s camera and Eddie Lacy was nice enough to show a stranger his most impressive necklace.

To be sure, Friday inside the Panini America player lounge at the 2013 NFLPA Rookie Premiere provided another day full of scintillating highs, as many laughs as autographs and enough feel-good memories to last a lifetime.

The day ended well past the scheduled 5:30 p.m. close as EJ Manuel returned after hours — as promised — to finish signing what was left of his autographs. While he was there, Manuel took the time to appear as Panini America’s mystery guest on the company’s weekly “This Week in Panini” segment on Cardboard Connection radio. It was a fitting conclusion to the player-rotation portion of the 2013 NFLPA Rookie Premiere for a class of rookies that has proven to exceed positive expectations every step of the way.

We hope the following comprehensive gallery of Friday highlights truly tells the story of an exceptional Friday for this exceptional crop of young NFL stars. Saturday, they finally get to slip on their NFL uniforms and take the pristine Rose Bowl field for a full day of photographs, interviews and fun.

We’ll have complete coverage of Saturday’s festivities right here on The Knight’s Lance. And be sure to follow all of the day’s action on the Panini America Twitter account and the #ScoreRookie hash tag. But before then, enjoy one lasting look back at a Friday none of us at Panini America will soon forget.