Indianapolis — While hundreds of players are at the combine this week hoping to soon have a career in the NFL, one Lions player is spending the week looking ahead to his life after football.
As part of a three-week externship with the NFL Players Association, Josh Bynes is attending several meetings in Indianapolis this week, many of which are related to his future goal of becoming a player development director for a football team.
Bynes said Thursday he’s grown close to Lions senior director of player development Galen Duncan the past two years. Duncan’s primary duties are related to providing life skills for players, and Bynes said they talk nearly every day during the season.
Before Bynes joined the Lions, he said he had a good relationship with Ravens director of player engagement Harry Swayne, but Bynes’ desire to help people with life development started in college.
When Bynes started his time at Auburn, he was a math major with plans to be an accountant. Then, later his freshman year, he went to an event for his aunt, and to his surprise, she asked the young Tigers football player to speak to the group of fathers and sons. And he enjoyed the experience of passing along information about the impact his father had on his life.
“From that point on, I went back to school and I was like, ‘I think I know what I want to do with my life,’” he said.
Bynes met with a couple academic advisors and changed his major to human sciences. He graduated in three-and-a-half years before going undrafted in 2011, which he thought was a sign his football career was coming to a close.
“My rookie year was an amazing ride,” he said. “I got cut after camp and literally until that point, I was trying to find a job. The same day I found a job (was) the same day the ravens put me on the practice squad. Ever since then, I’ve been in the league.”
But, Bynes said he has a “futuristic mindset,” so he did speaking engagements at high schools, both in Baltimore and elsewhere. He also said he’s tried to mentor some of the younger Lions players, including fellow Auburn alumnus Gabe Wright.
Now, after this additional training, Bynes said he hopes to provide more off-field insight to his teammates and perhaps be an NFLPA representative.
“It’s eye-opening,” he said. “I take down notes of everything."