Teryl Austin met the press when introduced as the Bengals' new defensive coordinator back in January.
ORLANDO, Fla. - The NFL meetings convene here Sunday, but two new Bengals assistant coaches beat head coach Marvin Lewis and management to the conference rooms.
Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt participated in a three-day symposium ending Saturday that focused on league personnel looking to take the next step as general managers, head coaches and coordinators.
It was management and Lewis that talked about which of their coaches should make the trip and both these guys, highly regarded around the NFL, have been here before. Austin has interviewed with multiple teams for head coaching jobs and Van Pelt has been a position coach for 13 years, except during the 2009 season in Buffalo he was promoted to offensive coordinator in a Bill Lazor-like ascension after an early-season firing. Van Pelt thinks the symposium has improved immeasurably.
"It's more detailed. It's not as general as it was. It's more specific to positions," Van Pelt said Saturday as the program wrapped up. "They had all these great speakers talking about what the owner is looking for and what management is looking for."
Van Pelt took notes on what Arizona owner Michael Bidwill had to say, but he couldn't help but buy the karma offered by Super Bowl-winning coach Doug Pederson in his talk about how to build a culture.
"Be happy about what you do every day and bring that into the room with you every day," Van Pelt said of Pederson's message. "It's hard work but when you really enjoy it and have fun doing it, it makes it easier for everybody."
Austin has been in front of owners and GMs before and while it's a foregone conclusion he'll be a head coach one day, he's not taking anything for granted and is all ears. That's because every job is different.
"Its different things and they'll tell you that," Austin said. "They'll say, 'This is the way we do it at our club,' but that doesn't mean it's the standard around the league. These are just some of the things that may come up in the process.
"It gives you all aspects of the league. You have an opportunity to grab some things you might not be privy to because now you've got owners speaking to you and GMs are telling you what they're looking for. Maybe they'll say some things you weren't aware of simply because you just haven't heard it from the people that hire."
No matter the level of job, it's always about networking.
"Maybe you meet a coach you didn't know before and you get lunch," Van Pelt said. "Now that's another guy you know."
And networking can even happen on the same team. Like Austin and Van Pelt.
"Yes," said Austin checking his watch. "We're golfing this afternoon."