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Today, I thought we’d talk about practical steps for getting into the league from this week’s guest contributor, former Jets West Coast scout Joe Bommarito. When I asked him how someone could increase his chances of becoming an NFL scout, his thoughts echoed those I’ve heard before.

“If I met a young person who wanted to be a scout I would advise them to contact their local NFL team and volunteer to work in their personnel department,” he said. “Also, contact local colleges and volunteer to work in their scouting department. Then make friends with everyone involved in the organization, because you never know who is going to advance into a position where they can make hiring decisions.”

As we’ve discussed already this week, Joe made friends with Herman Edwards during their time around Monterey Peninsula College, and it led directly to more than a decade as a scout.

He also shed light on how to ‘make friends’ with scouts, or anyone else in the league. Though he was speaking specifically about how agents could build bridges to scouts, his advice would work for nearly anyone.

“Go to workouts, introduce (yourself) to scouts, hand out business cards, get their phone (numbers) and email contact information,” he said. “Then . . . follow up with a note regarding “pleased to meet you,” etc. Ask their opinions on prospective players, etc. (It’s) also important to touch base with scouts at (the) Senior Bowl (and) Combine (and) work on building relationships.”

Obviously, going to all-star games or flying to Indianapolis to hang around the combine might be tough for students or young professionals looking to break into player evaluation, but no matter where you live, there’s probably one time each March that scouts — at least a handful — will come to your state. During pro days in the spring (most are in March, but some are in early April), scouts are evaluating schools at every state in the country. Finding out when a school’s pro day is (NFL.com tracks this and it’s usually readily available) and going there that day will get you around scouts. Making contact with them and expressing an interest in the business might be a difference-maker if player evaluation is your interest.

I’d make one more point. If you have a scout’s mailing address, write a handwritten note of thanks for a scout’s time. This would work if you’re an agent trying to make relationships or an aspiring scout looking to make contacts. I know it seems old-fashioned, but a lot of the scouts who have seniority and ‘sway’ within a department are pretty old-fashioned themselves. I’ve heard others talk of the value of a note. In other words, if you’ve got some old stationery around somewhere, it may come in handy.

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