Ashley Lynn, director of player engagement for the New York Giants

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So when free agents sign with the squad or players are traded during the season, do you jump in and help with that transition?

If a player leaves our team, I pass the baton to the director of player engagement for the team to which he goes. Different from other departments, player engagement works together across the league because there is a human aspect to it. I will let the new team know if there is any credits left for a player to graduate from college so they can help them with that. I also let them know about all the personality traits and interests, things like that. I try not to interfere once they leave, but it’s hard to do that with players who have been with the Giants for years. I still have relationships with many of them. Then, with the players who come to the Giants, we step in and help them find a house, send the children to school, find family doctors, all that.

You are truly an adult encyclopedia.

(Laughs) I really am. Need a dog walker? I got you. Everything you need.

I love it! What would you say you’re most proud of?

What I really love is making a difference in the lives of these players. It’s so impactful because they are idolized by so many people. Their reach is so incredible that it’s nice to help them find what they are passionate about outside of gaming, whether it’s an initiative, a cause, or an interest to pursue after they retire. The best part of my job is when a former player comes back, and he’s so proud of the second career he’s discovered and succeeded in.

Do you have any mentors who have influenced you along the way?

My parents, of course. We probably moved seven or eight times before I got to high school, and my mom really did most of that. She’s a little younger than my dad, so when he got drafted she couldn’t finish her degree. There weren’t any online classes back then and you just had to re-register each time, and sometimes you lost credits that didn’t transfer from school to school. She went through this process a lot when my father was a coach. She’s done so much for our family, so she’s a great one.

My dad too, for teaching me my job before I knew it was what I wanted to do. He wasn’t just coaching players. He was a father figure and created passion in his players and led them on and off the pitch. I feel like I have a part of him in me, that’s for sure.

Tina Tuggle too. She was director of player engagement for the Tennessee Titans in 2007, and she has been an incredible mentor to me in helping me find my way. Being the same age as the players when I arrived, she taught me to really be myself. She would tell me that the players talk to me and listen to me because of who I am and what I know. It had nothing to do with whether I played football or not. It was amazing for me to be in a position that had mostly men to see a black woman who is exceptional at her job and who had been doing this for years.

What would you say to a woman considering a career in football?

It sounds like a new area of ​​interest to me. I’ve always wanted to see more women in these roles, and it’s important to know that you don’t always know your dream path. Keep knocking on doors and don’t be discouraged. With COVID-19 protocols, it is decidedly more difficult to enter the building because there are fewer internships and other opportunities, but we’ll get to that. There are a million ways to get to where you want to go.

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