Plenty of college coaches open their practices to high school coaches, and the reason is obvious. Sure, they want to share ideas to foster a sense of brotherhood among colleagues. That's all well and good. But they mainly do it for recruiting. It's a quid pro quo exchange. High school coaches gain access and knowledge, college coaches gain a leg up on the competition for the next generation of talent. Both sides win.
The relationship is different in the NFL, though. The highway of players from college to the pros is much less direct, and as such NFL staffs aren't typically as inviting as their college counterparts.
Except for Jim Caldwell. The Detroit Lions head coach opens his practices to college and high school coaches, and in his situation it truly is a philanthropic effort. Urban Meyer can't help Caldwell convince Joey Bosa to become a Lion even if he wanted to.
“Often times you find that different teams do it different ways,” Caldwell said. “I, on one hand, believe in it because of the fact that these men, whatever level -- obviously there are no pro coaches here, but colleges, high schools -- I think it’s incumbent upon us to give these guys an opportunity to come in and kind of see how we do it, what we do.”
Caldwell does it, he says, as a way of paying it forward to repay Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis's kindness to him back when he was a young college assistant in the early 1980's.
“We’d walk over there with drill work, go through it, and at night time he’d come back in at night and he and I would watch film from 10 o’clock at night until the wee hours of the morning," Caldwell said. "Three days in a row, and this was a guy who was running the whole operation. So, from that experience I really believe in allowing guys to come in and see what we do. I think that’s the way it should be. It helped me out tremendously in my career.”