Josh Bynes using NFLPA externship at combine to prepare for post-football future

INDIANAPOLIS -- Josh Bynes was constantly on the move Thursday, darting around the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium. The Detroit Lions linebacker would duck his head into a meeting. He'd sit in on other conversations and along the way learn a little bit about a side of the NFL with which he wasn't familiar.

Bynes is in his second week of an externship with the NFLPA in an attempt to prepare himself for a life once football is over, and he's picking up a lot.

"Just the resources and the things the NFLPA brings," Bynes said while walking through the halls of the convention center. "A lot of guys, including myself, didn't really know all of the things that we had available until now. I think that's very unfortunate because it's some things that we can use in the future for guys that are currently in the league now, even rookies.

"They have a lot of resources, a lot of education programs and things like that to get your degree any how you get it. And you get paid back for it, for free pretty much, and you ain't got to do nothing. And we have all those things available."

That includes Bynes' externship, something he said he asked about and submitted a resume for before being admitted into the program. It fits well with his potential post-football career, too. He wants to become a player development coordinator, similar to the role Galen Duncan has with the Lions, and this gave him a glimpse into how to do that.

Bynes said he's had discussions with Duncan and Harry Swayne in Baltimore about this future path during his time with the Lions and Baltimore Ravens. The three-week program adds another line onto Bynes' resume, something he updates yearly to have fresh for offseason opportunities and for when his playing career concludes.

"I try to update my resume every year on activities and things that I do and I think a lot of guys, they are just thinking about now," Bynes said. "They are not thinking about five or 10 years from now.

"We have to definitely bring more awareness to guys to do things like that as well."

The top line on Bynes' resume for now is linebacker for the Lions. Football didn't always make his resume despite it being a huge part of his life for years. There was a legitimate reason for that.

"I remember a long time ago I never put football things on there but at the same time a lot of jobs look into it and then look at the other stuff that you're doing outside of playing football," Bynes said. "It shows that you're definitely committed to work and yourself and you're not just solely a football player. I don't want anyone to associate me as just a football player.

"Yes, I play football, but also I have other goals and other things that separate me from just being a football player."

That's what he's exploring this week in Indianapolis.

He does realize, though, that football is coming back soon. He said he started his offseason workout program to train for 2016. He could be in line for a bigger role next season with the Lions informing Stephen Tulloch he won't be back and with Tahir Whitehead and Travis Lewis not guaranteed to return to the team in free agency.

Tulloch's release and Whitehead's possible departure means the middle linebacker spot is open. That's a place Bynes has played the past two seasons in a rotation with Tulloch and Whitehead in 2015 and Whitehead in 2014. Bynes had 80 tackles, a forced fumble and a half-sack last season in the most significant playing time of his career.

"Playing middle is definitely the opportunity right now," Bynes said. "And I'm looking forward to that opportunity. At the same time, whatever they need me to play, I'm going to do.

"And I'm doing it to the best of my ability, as always."