When Brian Gaine was a practice-squad tight end with the Jets and Giants in the late 1990s, he found himself drawn to certain people in the organization. Surprisingly, none of them were wearing helmets or shoulder pads.
The Pearl River native took an interest in how teams in the NFL were built and their day-to-day operations. Over the last decade, that interest has turned into a career.
"As my career was coming to an end, I got exposed to the detail-oriented environment of both the coaching and also on the personnel and scouting end," Gaine said. "I got to speak to a few of the people involved in that profession, and that really piqued my interest."
Since then, Gaine has become a front-office fast-tracker.
In January, the 35-year-old was hired by the Miami Dolphins as their assistant director of player personnel. He had spent the past three seasons as assistant director of pro scouting with the Dallas Cowboys and six previous years in various scouting and player-development positions with the Jets.
With the Dolphins, Gaine will supervise and direct the pro scouting department and soon will be integrated into the college player evaluations.
Both are crucial positions within any organization, but especially now in Miami.
The Dolphins are coming off a 1-15 season and are in the midst of a roster overhaul, a process Gaine is embracing.
"I've always enjoyed and appreciated the idea of putting a roster and team together," said Gaine, who played at Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) and the University of Maine. "I enjoy dealing with the roster-management issues, the player acquisitions, the player addition and player evaluations. I like the idea of putting a team together and building a championship roster. Those challenges, I was always interested in that."
Follow the chronology of Gaine's career, and there's an obvious pattern - wherever Bill Parcells goes, so does Gaine.
In his first two years with the Jets, Gaine worked under Parcells as a member of the college scouting department (1999) and as manager of pro player development (2000).
Gaine again was an aide to Parcells in 2005, the year Gaine worked directly with Jeff Ireland, the Cowboys' vice president "