JACKSONVILLE – A healthy 2018 offseason was good in many ways for Ben Koyack.
Maybe the best way for his long-term future?
The Jaguars' third-year veteran tight end used his time away from EverBank Field in late February and early March to prepare for life after football, working with StubHub as part of the NFL Players Association "Externship" program.
"It was very good experience," Koyack, whose one-yard touchdown reception in a Wild Card Playoff victory over Buffalo was a highlight in the Jaguars' postseason run following the 2017 season.
"Whenever I make the transition it will be something I can definitely lean on."
Koyack, originally a seventh-round selection by the Jaguars in the 2015 NFL Draft, graduated from Notre Dame. He applied for the StubHub internship last October, then interviewed with the NFLPA and StubHub to secure the position.
The "externship" was marketing- and strategy-based – and it was meant to "empower current and former players to realize their career goals after life on the field," according to StubHub.
"Our whole deal was to figure out how to implement more fans to buy their tickets through StubHub," Koyack said. "I have my degree, but it's been three years since I really put it to work.
"It was good to be immersed in that environment. It's obviously a higher environment than what I experienced in college, and it's a very realistic situation."
Koyack, Quincy Enunwa of the New York Jets and Josh Andrews of the Minnesota Vikings (formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles) participated at StubHub's headquarters in San Francisco in what was termed a "three-week immersive business experience program."
"I wanted to get into a program that was in its first year in the externship program, because I wanted it to not be condensed down too much," Koyack said. "StubHub got back to me right away about the whole process. They were only taking three people, and I was lucky enough to be chosen."
Koyack said the group was given leeway to work with minimal direction – and that that was a good thing.
"We had to interact with every department," Koyack said. "It's not like we had someone walking us through the entire process; it was all on us. We had to find ways to get on people's calendars. If we couldn't get the head guy we had to find a way to get someone below him, so they really gave us a quick background, showed us some stuff and said, 'Here, you're on your own. Get ready to get this done and present to our head guy.'
"It was a crash course, but it was very useful because that's how things are going to work in the real world.''
Koyack declined to discuss the details of the project, but said "I think we did pretty well."
"It was generally received pretty well," he said. "I don't know if we did better than what they were expecting, but I think they were impressed with how well we knew what we were doing, and that we were intelligent guys.
"(Laughing) I think that's what they were hoping for, and I think they were pleased that's what they got."
Koyack said he awoke daily around 5:30 a.m. to walk to the gym and work out, then he walked a mile to StubHub. Koyack said he had planned to participate in a similar program with Under Armour last offseason but rehabilitating a 2016 knee injury meant remaining in Jacksonville during the offseason.
"I wanted to stay healthy," Koyack said of the '17 offseason. "But this year, I really wanted to do something. I wanted to do something that was very relevant. Tech is a very big thing and being in Silicon Valley, being in San Francisco, I felt like was really going to prepare me for things that are happening.
"I have a background in business from college, so I wanted to do something where I would age to apply that in real life – and also see how things work in other departments. With what we had to do, we had to think about it from every angle.
"We couldn't just focus on one thing, and I think that was really big."