At Inside the League, we encourage people that want to work in the football business to get their knowledge from volunteering, building relationships and soaking up football any way you can. On the other hand, we don’t encourage trying to get it from a classroom. You have to go where football people go, shake as many hands as you can, and even pass out business cards to anyone that will take them.

Of course, you have to start by going where football people go, and the NFL Combine in Indianapolis is obviously one of those places. Here’s a look at some of the people you could have met if you were at the XFL Hospitality Room (Suite 125 of the Indiana Convention Center) last week (and oh, by the way, we had free sandwiches, too):

  • Craig Redd: Craig is the co-founder of the College Gridiron Showcase, a game I serve as a partner. I’ve spoken in the past about the high regard I have for everyone associated with the game, and that goes especially for Craig and his co-founder, Jose Jefferson. But the most important thing to know is that all-star games are always looking for volunteers, and we can even offer college credit for the work done there. If you were in Indy last week, he’s a key contact you could make. Craig is incredibly friendly and accessible, and always looking for good workers.
  • Doug Whaley: You might think that the Senior V.P. of Football Operations for the XFL, a former NFL GM (Buffalo), would be far too busy for ordinary people. After all, he’s building a new league from scratch. However, I’ve known Doug for about a year, and he’s always treated me as an equal. Doug is the kind of person who sees everyone as having something to offer. If you’re looking to get into scouting, you should know that XFL teams won’t have a full scouting department, and will follow more of a college football model. That means if you aspire to be a scout someday, here’s your shot at volunteering in evaluation. You could have gotten started on that if you were at our suite last week.
  • Kevin Dunn: Kevin owns TEST Football Academy in New Jersey, and besides being the sponsor of our suite and a longtime friend, he’s a perfect example of a guy who built a sports practice from the ground up. Most everyone I know who’s got a combine prep facility in the north is struggling, but Kevin isn’t. Not only did he approach me months ago about sponsoring our suite, but he’s also got stacks of sponsors and a full gym. That’s a real accomplishment in a business as difficult to navigate as football is these days.
  • Ric Serritella: Not only is Ric connected in the football world; not only is he a noted NFL Draft expert; and not only is he incredibly talented when it comes to video production, but he’s incredibly friendly. And like Craig, Doug and Kevin, he’s not too big to talk to people just getting started out in the business.

If you weren’t in Indy this year, make plans to be there next year. If you read this blog, and you’re serious about working in the business, you need to get serious about being where opportunities are.

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