Las Vegas legend and former 1st round pick talks NFL pressure - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Las Vegas legend and former 1st round pick talks NFL pressure

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Mike Pritchard shared his experiences as a first round draft pick in the NFL. (FOX5) Mike Pritchard shared his experiences as a first round draft pick in the NFL. (FOX5)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

A Raiders first round draft pick continues to dominate the water cooler talk. It was 26 years ago that Rancho High School graduate Mike Pritchard got the call from the Atlanta Falcons.

"There it is, just selected, come across on the ticker, Mike Pritchard, 13th overall pick," Pritchard said while watching his name run across the screen.

Since 1991, Pritchard has celebrated the draft, as the day his life changed forever.

"I was living in a trailer in North Las Vegas. You go play college football, win a National Championship for Colorado and now you get drafted in the first round, 13th overall. It's a whirlwind but it's a life changer," he said.

Pritchard enjoyed a nine-year NFL career, playing for the Falcons,  Broncos and Seahawks.

The current ESPN radio personality has seen firsthand the pitfalls of what quick fame and money can do to young football players. On Thursday, the soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders drafted Ohio State defensive back Gareon Conley, a top ten talent, but not without controversy. He was accused of rape earlier this month.

It's an allegation Conley strongly denied.

Pritchard said the spotlight in the NFL is a powerful thing.

"It can be very negative if you allow it to be. You can control it with wise decisions, you can control it with conscience decisions. Don't live for the moment, don't live for the instant gratification, because you want this to be a career. You don't want to be a flash in the pan."

A long career for Conley with the Raiders would mean a future in Las Vegas, a city known for its distractions.

"There is this moniker, Sin City. I hope we can get rid of that. This city is so much different than it used to be," Pritchard said. "If you want to find some trouble, you can find trouble anywhere. It doesn't matter if you're in Ames, Iowa or Las Vegas, Nevada."

Pritchard said the pressures of the NFL are real, but it's a matter of staying true to who you are.

"When you're young and your pockets are full of money, you think you can conquer the world really. But the world will conquer you back and slap you upside the head if it needs to."

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