Corner's eyes opened to NFL's reach

He was simply following NFL employees around at the league office on Park Avenue in Manhattan Tuesday. It was called a "job shadow" day, but for Bills cornerback Reggie Corner the day shined a bright light on just how many ways the NFL can assist him with his post-playing career.

Corner, who will be an unrestricted free agent in March, landed the opportunity to tour the league's headquarters while also meeting with a host of league professionals that work there with some help from Bills Director of Player Programs Paul Lancaster.

"I had been reaching out to Paul the last couple of years about some things that are out there for us NFL players and internships," said Corner. "I've thought about going back to get my master's degree. There's a life after football. This past week I got in touch with some important people in Manhattan at the league office and got to shadow some people there."

Among them former Bills defensive back Troy Vincent, who is the Vice President of Player Development. It sounds as though Vincent inspired Corner as he feels the visit gave him a much broader perspective on the opportunities out there where the NFL can provide networking or even financial assistance.

"Troy is an all-around great guy," Corner said. "Just everybody I met were great people. They really enlightened me about the opportunities that the NFL can give you. I can almost guarantee that a lot of NFL athletes don't even know all that's out there after football. I would advise them all once a summer when we're not doing anything to explore and see what's out there for you."

Corner, who has a Bachelor's degree in Sports Science from The University of Akron, does have plans to return to school to get his Master's degree in Business Administration come the summer of 2013.

"I want to get my masters and do a couple of internships as far as next summer goes," he said. "The league offers $45 thousand toward our education so people can go back to school to finish their degree or get a master's. Why wouldn't you want to take advantage of that opportunity? That's something that everybody doesn't get. The benefits we get… there's so much out there."

The fifth-year corner also met with Rob Johnson the head of officiating as well as Merton Hanks, the NFL Director of Football Operations.

"They definitely opened my eyes as far as my future is concerned," he said. "Just networking, communication, knowing the right people and taking advantage of every opportunity you get. Take advantage of the people that you can reach easily now as a player that might be harder after you're done playing. That's what they're there for and so you should make sure to make use of them to further yourself."

Corner, who runs his own football camp in his native Canton at Fawcett Stadium, is proud that he can annually give back to the kids in the same community in which he grew up every June at his camp. But it sounds like Corner's aspirations are now a bit loftier after his day at the NFL offices.

"I don't want to let another offseason pass me by without doing anything," said Corner. "You just have to be self-disciplined and go out there and get it. We all know that football doesn't last forever. So I want to make sure the rest of my life is situated as far as the future is concerned."

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