Reggie Scott knows the value of a pipeline program: Two decades ago one started it on the road to becoming the Rams’ vice president for sports medicine and performance.
Thomas Brown, the coach of the Rams, is looking forward to another pipeline program producing similar results for coaches and front office executives.
Brown and rams Senior personnel executive Ray Farmer was among more than 60 men and women who attended the NFL’s inaugural “Coach and Front Office Accelerator” in Atlanta this week. The two-day event provided women and potential minority clients with development sessions and networking time with team owners.
The program exceeded expectations and was “definitely a step in the right direction,” Brown said Thursday after an organized team activity training session at Thousand Oaks.
“I think everyone involved in the program was very intent on trying to make it a real experience, to make networking and programming impactful,” Brown said. “The real definitive test will be the results along the way.”
Brown, 36, coached running back in his first two seasons with the Rams. Over the winter, he interviewed the Miami Dolphins for their manager’s opening and with the Minnesota Vikings for their offensive coordinator work.
Brown’s move to coach this season’s tight deadlines will apparently bolster his resume for the next round of coordinator and head coach openings.
Brown said the accelerator has provided him and others with an opportunity to ask questions and talk to owners about non-football related topics.
“You might really know me as a person, so when my name comes up, you can put a face on a name,” Brown said, adding that informal exchanges will allow hiring decision makers to recognize: “This person, is before all a human being and I can see him in that light before I even get into something football. ‘ “
Scott, president of the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society (PFATS), is optimistic that the NFL’s new sports medicine pipeline initiative will help increase the number of ethnic minorities and medical women working in the NFL. The league, in a statement announcing the program, said the NFL Physician’s Society reported that 86 percent of its members identify as white, 8 percent Asian, 5 percent black, and 1 percent Hispanic.
The Rams and Chargers this season will be among eight franchises that will host two medical students from four historically black colleges or universities, including Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles. Students will serve bimonthly rotations that will focus on primary care sports medicine, orthopedics, and athletic training.
“You have a pipeline, but you also need a candidate pool,” Scott said Thursday. “So, we want people to see it, to start saying … ‘I want to do this.’ “
Scott said in 2001 he was awarded a PFAT Ethnic Minority Scholarship with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“This brings me to the door,” he said.
Scott said he intended to return to physiotherapy school, but the Buccaneers coach offered him a one-year scholarship. The following year, Scott said the Carolina Panthers called the Buccaneers asking if they knew of possible candidates for the opening of a full-time assistant coach.
Scott said the Buccaneers manager replied, “‘Well, I have someone right here that I think you should hire.’ “
Scott landed the job, starting a career that included six seasons with the Panthers before the Rams hired him as their chief fitness coach in 2010.
“The fact that I got that exposure, that I stepped in the door, was the springboard for me to get into the NFL,” he said of the internship program. “So, it shows it works.”
Observations from the training of team activities organized by the Rams:
Running out of running back
Run back Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson weren’t on the pitch, so second-year pro Jake Funk took most of the snaps with the first team attack.
Newcomer Kyren Williams continues to show that she could compete for a role during training camp. Williams received a touchdown pass during a seven-on-seven drill inside the 20-yard line.
Time to shine
With the starters not participating in the seven-on-seven drills, non-drafted receiver Lance McCutcheon took advantage of the opportunity.
The 6-foot-3 McCutcheon, who played at Montana State, made an impressive touchdown in the corner of the end zone in the last play of practice.
Receiver Jacob Harris, recovering from knee surgery, ran aside and did agility exercises.
The 6-foot-5 Harris could provide the recipient body with additional dimension if it is healthy from training camp.
Choose your place
Defender Jairon McVea intercepted a pass from the quarterback Bryce Perkins.
McVea is a non-draft Baylor player.
Utah coaching staff members were on hand to observe the practice.