Former NFL players encouraged to pursue a career in professional scouting

nfl-scoutsA new program designed to encourage former NFL players to pursue a career in professional scouting will launch this year, the NFL announced today.

The NUNN-WOOTEN SCOUTING FELLOWSHIP, named in honor of longtime Steelers personnel director BILL NUNN and former NFL player and front office executive JOHN WOOTEN, will be administered by the NFL’s Football Development Department. The objective of the program is to provide former players who are interested in becoming a professional scout an opportunity to observe and participate in how the scouting process works at NFL clubs.

“We feel like scouting is a natural transition for some of our former players,” says former Pro Bowl center MATT BIRK, who now serves as the NFL’s director of football development. “They bring that ‘football work ethic’ and a unique perspective to the profession.”

The NFL has created an advisory council to support and guide the program, which includes the following members:

• Matt Birk, NFL Director of Football Development

• Jeff Foster, National Football Scouting President

• Rod Graves

• Terry McDonough, Arizona Cardinals Vice President of Player Personnel

• Kyle O’Brien, Jacksonville Jaguars Director of College Scouting

• Shelton Quarles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Director of Football Operations

• Sheldon White, Detroit Lions Vice President of Pro Personnel

The fellowship will be open to former players who have an interest in beginning a career in the scouting profession.

Bill Nunn spent 46 seasons in the Steelers’ player personnel department where he helped evaluate college talent. Nunn was one of a select few employees with rings from each of the Steelers’ six Super Bowl championships. After originally joining the Steelers as a scout in 1968, Nunn was promoted to assistant director of player personnel in 1970. Prior to joining the Steelers, Nunn was both the sports editor and managing editor for the Pittsburgh Courier.

John Wooten, who currently serves as the chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation, dedicated more than 40 years of his life to the NFL as a player and personnel executive. Selected by Cleveland in the fifth round of the 1959 NFL Draft, Wooten was a guard from 1959-1967 before playing one season with the Washington Redskins in 1968.

Wooten began working in the Cowboys’ player personnel department in 1975 and was promoted to director of pro scouting in 1980, a position that he held for 12 years. Thereafter, he became the NFL’s creator/director of player programs (1991-92) and later joined the Eagles’ front office in 1992. He served as Philadelphia’s vice president of player personnel from 1994-97. In 1998, he accepted the position of assistant director of pro/college scouting with the Baltimore Ravens, which he served for three years. He then consulted for the Ravens’ player personnel staff before his 2004 retirement.

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