By Jim Gehman, Player Engagement Insider
Steve Hutchinson, a 12-year veteran guard with the Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings and Tennessee Titans, retired in March 2013 because of a knee injury. He, however, will soon become an NFL rookie again.
“I just took an internship in the personnel department with the Titans,” Hutchinson said. “I live in Nashville and will start working in the personnel department for training camp. It’s kind of a hybrid internship and if I like it and it’s a good fit then we’re going to discuss staying on full-time.
“It was a little bit of a mutual deal. I thought of it and then made contact with Jon Robinson, the new G.M., and we discussed it. He’s kind of creating a spot that hasn’t been here previously. It’d be a pro scout primarily for offensive and defensive lines.”
Having played in and started 169 games over 12 seasons, there is not much that has happened on the field that Hutchinson, who earned five first-team All-Pro selections and was named to seven Pro Bowl teams, hasn’t seen. That experience gives him a distinct advantage as he embarks on a possible new career.
“I would think I have a pretty good eye for what constitutes good offensive and defensive line play,” Hutchinson said. “When you look at it, the offensive line is half the offense and the defensive line’s a third of the defense. And now you have hybrid defenses where linebackers come and put a hand down and pass rush. So essentially, half of the offenses and defenses in today’s game are linemen. When you have one guy who can focus on that and not worry about the secondary and skill guys on offense, you can probably hone your scouting a little bit better.”
While he did a fine job, Hutchinson admits that when he worked as a college football game analyst for FOX Sports last season, he was nervous because it was a new experience for him. That isn’t the case now.
“I’m not nervous. If there’s one thing I know, it’s football,” Hutchinson said. “Granted, I’ll have to learn a grading system and how to write reports and things like that. And I’ll learn all that. But as far as nervousness to start this job, not at all. It’s second nature.
“I’m excited because I love football. It’s what I’ve done for a long time and it’s what I know. But I’m also excited to be back part of a team. Obviously, I’m not playing, but to be around guys dealing with football, having a place to go to work and just get back involved with football, I’m excited for that.”
Did Hutchinson give any thought to becoming involved with the game again as a coach?
“For about half of a second,” he said with a laugh. “I coached (the offensive line) the last two years for fun with Mike Holmgren (former head coach for the Seahawks and Green Bay Packers) in the NFLPA (Collegiate Bowl) game out in Los Angeles. It’s fun going out there for a week and a lot of the staff that Mike assembles for that game are coaches that I played for while I was in Seattle. So it’s kind of a nice reunion week.
“Obviously, if this job I’m doing now becomes full-time I won’t be able to do that (in 2017). So I got enough coaching doing that and I realized that I don’t want to coach. It’s fun, but I’m more interested in getting in on the other side, the front office type roles.”