Barrett Wiley spent seven years (2001-2008) as a scout with the New Orleans Saints. Now a successful entrepreneur, I had a chance to interview him about his experiences in the game. One question I always ask is, how did you become a scout?
His answer: a big break and hard work.
“I became a scout after having an internship with the Saints, and we had all the changeover between (former head coach Mike) Ditka and (then-Saints GM) Randy Mueller at the time, and the acting general manager, interim general manager Charles Bailey, he looked in-house for some help on the football side to watch tape. He knew I was a guy who played football, who had football in my blood, and he said, ‘Well, just watch this tape,’ and I want to say it was the defensive lineman from Florida State, Corey . . . he was with Philadelphia, Corey Simon, and he said, ‘Barrett, watch this tape and tell me what you think of it,’ and I was watching tape, and I was saying, ‘he’s explosive, he’s powerful, he can run, he can do XYZ.’ I was saying things in crude elementary terms because I didn’t have the terminology down, but he saw that I could evaluate guys, you know, I don’t want to say instantly, but I had an eye for that. Then he just let me, after hours, after I did my duties with the media relations department, because that was what my internship was, I would go there after hours and help out. After Randy Mueller came in, everyone that was in place, he just left them in place because of the time constraints, because he came on either right before or right after the Senior Bowl of 2000, so with that said, I just did whatever they needed.
“I used to joke with our football assistant that I was the special man, whether that was driving players to medical, to physicals, picking players up at the airport, babysitting them, getting cell phones for the coaches, whatever they needed, I did it, so then, by me not being afraid of work, they said well, we have a position open, and he’s earned a shot at it, and I was given the job of West Coast scout for the 2001 season. I did that for two years, then I transitioned to combine scout, which goes to colleges in a specific area and evaluates guys going from junior to a rising senior.”
I asked Barrett how he initially got his foot in the door. He said it was through a relationship with his father and a Saints legend.
“I got the internship through a family friend. My father was real good friends with (Hall of Fame former Saints linebacker) Rickey Jackson, and he saw . . . I had just graduated from college, and he was like, he asked my dad, what’s Barret doing, and he said, he’s working, looking or a job, and he said, well, since he’s doing that, I’m going to attempt to get him an internship. After that, I went to interview, and fortunately got the internship and it just grew from there. I was, you hear the stories, I was the kid who was always around, whether it was 6 o’clock in the morning or 2 o’clock in the morning. Whenever they needed me, I was there, whenever they needed me.”