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"IN THE grand scheme of things, my life really hasn't changed," says the Virginia Tech alum whom Atlanta took at No. 8 and gave a team-record $13 million signing bonus. "I do the same routine, I just get to play on Sundays now. Used to be Wednesdays in middle school, Thursdays in jayvee, Fridays in high school and Saturdays in college. You love doing it, but it's like a job. Waking up at six o'clock, making the drive down here, watching film." Hall started his first game against the Broncos on Nov. 6 and had four tackles. "It's funny, when you have money, everybody wants to give you money," says Hall, who wears number 21 as a tribute to Deion Sanders. "Car dealerships want to give you cars, banks try to loan you money. When you don't have money, nobody wants to give you any."
IGOR OLSHANSKY CHARGERS DE
"THE VETS have this thing on rookies, almost like a disrespect code. It doesn't make sense to me because everybody was a rookie at one point," says the 6'6" 309-pounder who was born in the Ukraine and raised in San Francisco. Olshansky attended Oregon, where he set a team record by bench-pressing 505 pounds. Taken at No. 35 in the draft, he has started all nine games for the Chargers and is excelling by paying attention to detail. "In the NFL there's a lot more preparation than in college--focusing on your man, his techniques and how he blocks," says Olshansky. "Really, what matters is not what people think of you but what you think of yourself. If you're out there taking care of business, you'll get the respect in time."
JONATHAN VILMA JETS LB
VILMA, THE 12th player (and first linebacker) taken, has been a starter for New York since Sam Cowart went down with a knee injury in Game 2. "I knew rest was important," he says, "but I never understood how long the season is. I'm used to winding down my college season after 10 weeks, and here we're just picking it up." Vilma, who has 52 tackles, tied for best on the team, says, "I don't think about [hitting] the wall, I'm having too much fun." The former Miami Hurricane recently put some of his $1.2 million reporting bonus toward a 3,000-square-foot town house on Long Island, but his early success doesn't appear to have changed him--perhaps because, like many in this year's class (page 41), he seems wise beyond his years. Says Jets coach Herman Edwards, "His maturity level is probably the best I've seen in a rookie. A lot of things are going on, and he's handled it."
LARRY FITZGERALD CARDS WR
"YOU HAVE to find a hobby," says the dapper Fitzgerald, who left Pittsburgh after his sophomore season and went third in the draft. "You have so much free time. If you don't have something to do, there are a lot of [bad] things you can get into." Fitzgerald admits he hasn't heeded his own advice about getting a hobby. "Football is my hobby," he says. It's also his job, and he's typically the last guy to leave the practice facility. Raised in Minneapolis, he got a taste of NFL life in the mid-1990s as a Vikings ball boy. "You see the guys and their lifestyles," says Fitzgerald, who has a team-high 463 receiving yards. "Then you live it, and the money is in your pocket and there's really nothing you can't do. I try not to let that get to me. I try to stay in my budget, do what my financial adviser tells me to do and stay humble and well grounded.... I don't even have furniture in my house!"
DUNTA ROBINSON TEXANS CB
"YOU'VE GOT to be a note taker and study your opponent," says Robinson, who leads Houston with three interceptions. "If you make the same mistake week in and week out, teams are going to take advantage." Texans secondary coach Jon Hoke requires the Athens, Ga., native to record game observations in a spiral notebook, and Robinson, who went 10th out of South Carolina, had plenty to jot down after lining up opposite Vikings receiver Randy Moss in Week 5. "If he sees you in a certain coverage, he's calling Daunte [Culpepper]'s name or pointing. They know what you're going to do. In college that's not something you're going to see."