JOHN KOVACH | COLLEGE Local students intern with Browns in Berea
BEREA -- When you are serving a summer internship in professional football like college students Jonathan Bentley, Charles Saulino and Eddie Janczewski are doing with the Cleveland Browns, you learn that players and games actually are just the tip of the iceberg in the business.
"The end product is the players on the field and winning, but the players are actually a small part of the business that runs on a day-to-day basis," said Bentley of Youngstown, a senior at Ohio State from Chaney High.
"The biggest part of the franchise would probably be public relations, actually getting people to come out seeing your product," he said.
Among six picked: The three interns -- Saulino from Canfield is a senior at Miami of Ohio and Janczewski of Youngstown a senior at Ohio State along with Bentley -- were among six college students selected to serve a summer internship with the Cleveland Browns Football Operations Department for the 2001 Training Camp in Berea. Saulino and Janczewski are from Cardinal Mooney High.
The internship working behind the scenes with the Browns franchise began about July 23, and will conclude Saturday after the Browns' second preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Much to learn: Bentley has found the unexposed part of the NFL iceberg to be vast and multi-faceted, with many things for an intern to do and learn that eventually could lead to careers in the business.
"We are on call about 12-13 hours a day to do anything. There are just a variety of things that have to be done on a daily basis just to keep things running," said Bentley, a senior psychology-sociology and pre-law major at Ohio State, who was on the Chaney High basketball and track teams, and was an honor student.
"The reward for the job is that we get to see all of the aspects of all the jobs -- contract work, free agents -- we get to see a lot of the behind-the-scenes of pro football; and this internship really opened me up to the business aspect of sports."
Bentley, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Claude Bentley, described the operations department as "the link between players, marketing, player personnel and the upper executives like team owner Al Lerner and president Carmen Policy and the coaching staff."
Range of jobs: Bentley said that interns' jobs can range from picking up free agents at the airport, arranging for them to have cars, making sure players get to practice on time, picking up trash and distributing rosters to visiting fans at the training camp, to some of the more sophisticated assignments like observing and learning about contract negotiations.
"You definitely learn the ropes of what is going on," Bentley said. "The biggest thing I will take away from this internship is working with a variety of people toward a common objective. You work as a team to get it down fast, but right."
Bentley is eyeing law school after graduation next year. "I'm leaning toward law school, but this is a great opportunity so I had to explore it," he said.
Saulino's favorite: But doing NFL contract work as a career really interests Saulino, who is majoring in finance and marketing at Miami and has completed two previous summer internships with Butler Wick and Co. in Youngstown and Allsports Travel Service in Canfield.
Saulino said he likes "putting contracts together. I would like to get into contract negotiations. That's what I found to be the most interesting. You just don't realize how much stuff goes into a contract and how detailed everything is. It takes a couple of people to put this together."
Saulino, who played football and baseball at Mooney, said that NFL work appeals to him.
Eyes career: "This is something I would like to do as a career, either with the Browns or in the NFL," said Saulino, the son of Charles and Linda Saulino.
He sees this as a vocation "because I'm a marketing guy involved in sports all my life. I played football at Mooney, and coach [Don] Bucci instilled that football spirit in me, so I want to be around sports as much as I can."
And in the NFL, "You get into a position that the general public can't get into."