Club owners Robert Kraft (Patriots), Woody Johnson (Jets) and Dan Rooney (Steelers) will join NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and previously announced Jaguars owner Shad Khan, Giants owner John Mara and Cardinals president Michael Bidwill to participate in networking sessions and panels at the NFL Career Development Symposium next week (May 6-8) at the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania.
“We are pleased to offer this program to provide a diverse group of coaching and front office talent with the tools and networking opportunities to take the next step in their careers,” said Commissioner Goodell. “This symposium will help develop our coaching and front office pipeline and build on the progress we have made over the past decade.”
“It is nice to attach a face to a name,” Mara said. “We are in a results-driven business. We study who is successful around the league. This gives us an opportunity to gain some familiarity with those people.”
Former Bills, Panthers and Colts General Manager Bill Polian will address the group on the opening night, while former Steelers Head Coach Bill Cowher will speak on the second night.
Among the 63 participants are 21 former NFL players including Lake Dawson (Titans vice president of player personnel), Ray Farmer (Browns assistant general manager), Jerome Henderson (Cowboys secondary coach), Pepper Johnson (Patriots linebackers coach), Wilbert Montgomery (Ravens running backs coach), Winston Moss (Packers asst. head coach/inside LBs), Matt Russell(Broncos director of player personnel) and Brian Simmons (Jaguars college scout).
In addition, five current assistant coaches who have been through the head-coaching interview process – Jim Caldwell (Ravens), Bill Callahan (Cowboys), Perry Fewell (Giants), Hue Jackson (Bengals), and Raheem Morris (Redskins) – will attend.
The three-day program will engage aspiring head coach and general manager candidates through presentations, panel discussions, breakout sessions and networking opportunities with owners, club presidents, coaches, general managers and league executives.
Among the speakers and presenters are Dolphins SVP of football operations Dawn Aponte, Chiefs general manager John Dorsey, Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff, Jets general manager John Idzik, Ravens EVP and general manager Ozzie Newsome, Giants SVP and General Manager Jerry Reese, Texans general manager Rick Smith, Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin, Falcons head coach Mike Smith, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and former NFL general managers Bill Polian and Charley Casserly.
Others in attendance for the networking sessions will include Jets president Neil Glat, Eagles president Don Smolenski, and former general managers Jerry Angelo and Scott Pioli.
Program session titles include: “Expectations of Leadership,” “Player Health and Safety,” “Managing Key Relationships,” “Brand Building/Media Training,” and “Developing and Describing Your ‘90-Day Plan.’”
The program will be directed by NFL EVP and Chief Human Resources Officer Robert Gulliver and NFL EVP of Football Operations Ray Anderson.
The Career Development Symposium previously ran from 1998-2008. Attendees included current head coaches Leslie Frazier (Minnesota), John Harbaugh (Baltimore), Chuck Pagano (Indianapolis), Ron Rivera (Carolina), and Mike Smith (Atlanta) as well as general managers Trent Baalke (San Francisco), John Dorsey (Kansas City), and John Schneider (Seattle).
The NFL Career Development Symposium supplements other initiatives that include:
- Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship (April-June 2013; July-August 2013), which provides opportunities at all 32 NFL clubs for minority coaches to observe, participate and gain coaching experience.
- NFL-NCAA Coaches Academy (February 2013), which offered 60 coaches/coaching prospects – including 28 former NFL players and nine current NFL players -- with tools and networking opportunities for potential careers as football coaches.
- NFL Video Interview Program (February 2013), for those who have been identified as potential head coaches or general managers. The program gives clubs the ability to view an informational interview conducted by an executive search firm.
- NFL-NCAA Future Football Coaches Academy (January 2013), for those who have recently completed their collegiate eligibility and are interested in becoming a college football coach.
- NFL-NCAA Champion Forum (June 2013) for those who have been identified as potential head coaches by college administrators, this program simulates the intercollegiate interview process from researching the position to their first staff meeting after becoming a head coach.
For further information, please visit https://www.nflplayerengagement.com/.