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NFL rookies kick off their careers posing for football cards

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Posted: Monday, May 20, 2013 10:56 pm | Updated: 10:04 am, Mon Apr 21, 2014.

EJ Manuel of Florida State was the first quarterback taken in the NFL draft, but he was joined by 39 fellow NFL rookies this past weekend to pose for some special photographs.

The NFLPA Premier Weekend is took place this past weekend as guys like Manuel, Geno Smith, and 38 others signed their rookie cards - cards that could be worth big dollars in the next few decades if the players make it big.

"Grew up collecting trading cards, got a bunch of collectibles. To see my face on one is really heartwarming. I am just glad the little fans out there and Panini collectors are able to get a Geno Smith card," says New York Jets draft pick Smith.

The whole weekend was put together for marketing, picture taking, media events and such. But the cards are important to the NFL fan future because they are the first impression of these players for the younger fans.

"Knowing that kids are going to buy my cards, looking at 'em the same way I did when I was growing up…it’s a blessing. I’m really excited," says Eddie Lacy, a second round pick for Green Bay.

The players themselves collected cards as youngsters, so it starts to dawn on them that now others will be buying cards to get their pictures, stats and personal fun facts.

"It’s a dream come true. You know guys, when I was young and I would get a Kobe Bryant or a Jason Kidd card and I would fantasize about one day being in that position. Now I have my own card and it is exciting," says Manuel, selected in the first round by the Buffalo Bills.

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