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So last night was our sixth annual ITL Seminar, which we always hold the Thursday night of the NFL Combine. Last night’s featured speaker was Phil Emery, formerly the GM of the Bears. He spoke to the 125 or so ITL clients who made it out to the Indiana Convention Center as part of our annual event. It was very well-received, and we got lots of positive feedback.

As part of his presentation, I gave him 10 questions I always get from young agents and financial planners as well as people hoping to make it in the football business. The first question was, what’s the best way to secure a scouting internship with an NFL team? His answer was lengthy and detailed, and we hope to have it in its entirety on the site within a couple weeks. But there were three takeaways I got just from listening to him, so I thought I’d pass them along here.

1. Don’t say you hope to be the team’s GM: Phil said, as a GM, it was a bit insulting for a young man coming into the game to be thinking in terms of such a lofty position. I think he sees it as presumptuous for someone who hasn’t even achieved a place on the team to be thinking of running the team. He said he wants a young person who is adamant about mastering skills, one by one, that will build a resume over time. So be measured if you’re asked about your goals.

2. You can’t work for free anymore, no matter how badly you want to: Phil said the government has gotten involved here, and for tax reasons, it’s almost impossible to have interns around that aren’t getting (a) pay or (b) college credit. Now, if you get college credit, there’s an excellent chance you’re not getting paid. But without college in the mix, it’s pretty tough. So, free work is one less thing scouting hopefuls have to offer.

3. Don’t hope to make a late-life career change: Phil said teams he’s worked for get letters all the time from highly successful people who are ready to throw away their life’s work (stock analyst, medical professional, whatever) to become scouting interns. Literally. He’s seen lengthy, detailed letters from people who claim their passion has always been football, and that they are ready to start over. Phil said that if it were really their passion, they wouldn’t have waited until mid-life to pursue it. As tough as that is to hear, I think there’s something to that. We all have only so much time, and scouting careers aren’t built over night.

These are just a few of the gems we got last night. We’ll have more for you when we get the film up. We promise to put selected passages on YouTube and, hopefully, the entire presentation on our site. We’ll keep you posted.