INDIANAPOLIS — Tuesday afternoon in a cavernous room inside the Indiana Convention Center, new Giants general manager Joe Schoen stood waiting for Bills general manager Brandon Beane to finish with an interview, so he could take his turn on a podium, where they looked over a throng of reporters ready to document their every word.
Not bad for a couple of interns, who started out filling ticket orders and folding towels at Bank of America Stadium.
Both Schoen and Beane started out as interns for the Panthers, taking the long road to the top of an NFL organization.
Schoen laughed when he talked about his initial duties, mentioning such glamorous details as doing inventory of the liquor bottles in suites when he started at the bottom in 2000.
"A little bit of everything," Schoen said of his many tasks then. "Whatever needed to be done."
He worked in scouting (as a low-level assistant before becoming an area scout), and left in 2008 to become a national scout for the Dolphins. He was Beane's assistant GM in Buffalo for five seasons before the Giants hired him in January.
Beane began as a public relations intern with the Panthers, making copies for reporters, the same crowd he now talks to in a new capacity. Beane started with the Panthers in 1998, eventually climbing through the ranks in football operations (doing the team's logistics like planning training camp and organizing travel).
But Beane said working his way from the bottom up has given him a perspective he needed — and winning several executive of the year awards suggests the lessons took hold.
"I think the thing being an intern gives you, you see how the sausage is made," Beane said Tuesday. "You see every little nook and cranny. You're dealing with players, you're dealing with doctors, you're dealing with coaches. You may have to run an errand for the owner, or work with the GM. You're helping any area that needs anything, from running errands, to taking players to the airport. You see everything.
"You have an appreciation for the people doing a lot of the work that doesn't get credit. I know to not just sit in my office, and that I need to go down to the equipment room, and just have some laughs, talk through some of the things I saw as an intern."
Beane said as he worked in football operations, former GM Marty Hurney introduced him to the mechanics of the salary cap (the same way former Washington and San Diego GM Bobby Beathard did for Hurney in the '80s and '90s). When he started, it was a magnetic board on the wall, that gave him introduction to personnel around the league. He was able to add to those duties over the years, but said there's a different appreciation for it when you've done the laundry.
"If you get plopped into a high and mighty seat, you might not realize what some of the lower-level people have to do," Beane said. "You understand all the dynamics, what departments affect the others.
"To me, I don't know that I'd have had that perspective from the GM's seat without having to come up the way I did."
— Player workouts don't begin here until Thursday, but the Panthers began a steady stream of player interviews when they arrived Monday night, and that will continue through the week.
— A couple of players the Panthers will be interested in learning more about won't be doing the on-field workouts.
Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral and Alabama tackle Evan Neal are among the players who won't work out here, but they'll still go through all the medical testing and interviews.
— Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer will talk to reporters Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. You can follow our live stream of the interview here (link will be live 10 min before the press conference begins).
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