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How Jim Schwartz almost got fired in Cleveland

Jim Schwartz broke into the NFL as an unpaid intern under Bill Belichick in Cleveland whose duties entailed picking up players from the airport and making cigarette runs for secretaries.

“That was my tuition to be exposed to the happenings that were there and to be able to learn,” Schwartz said. “And it was obviously well worth it.”

One of his first days on the job, however, Schwartz jokes that he almost got fired. The story:

“I'd been hired for a job that paid zero,” Schwartz said. They gave me an apartment and I could eat food in the office. They always had stocked kitchens and things like that. Well, they brought me up for a mini-camp. What happened is Bill did the old NFL trick of, hey, if you have a good practice on Thursday I'll give you off on Friday. Well, my plane ticket didn't go home until Friday so he gave the team off and all the coaches and players were out of there.

“Well, I don't have anything to do for a full day so I'm around the office literally like the entire day and don't see another soul and I'm waiting for my flight that's leaving at like 6 o'clock, so I go in and grab some lunch and I use the rest of the turkey and eat it. And I'm literally getting some crackers and I take a bite of the sandwich and in walks Coach Belichick. And he had been working out and he's rooting through the refrigerator, looking for a bunch of stuff, and I'm eating. And he looks over at me and he said, 'Have you seen the turkey?' And literally I had used just the exact last thing. And I got like a mouthful of turkey and I was like, 'Um. I just used the last …' And he was like, 'Oh, what the …'

“And really that was my first meeting, so I called home and said this might be a one-way ticket home.”

Now, of course, Schwartz considers Belichick one of his closest friends and coaching mentors.

"Probably had more to do with my development than anything," Schwartz said.

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