New Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort was almost an FBI agent before joining NFL

Jan 17, 2023, 5:03 PM | Updated: 5:48 pm
Arizona Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort speaks with reporters during his introductory press conference...
Arizona Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort speaks with reporters during his introductory press conference on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)
(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

Monti Ossenfort: Arizona Cardinals general manager or FBI agent?

Thankfully it’s the former for Cardinals fans, but the NFL wasn’t always on the radar for Arizona’s new GM.

After two intern stints with the Minnesota Vikings and Houston Texans in 2001 and 2002, respectively, Ossenfort was a crossroads in his career.

“A little bit of a twisted path, but I didn’t know that it would be in personnel,” he said at his introductory press conference on Tuesday. “I knew there was a coaching route and there was a personnel route.

“I was fortunate enough to land an opportunity and once I got my first taste of it, I knew this is what I wanted to do. After my first job in the NFL with the Houston Texans back in 2002, there was not a job available for me in Houston and I had an opportunity to interview for a couple jobs around the league. I didn’t get them.”

After the failed attempts to land somewhere in the football world, Ossenfort found himself sitting in a bookstore in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, reading up on what it would take to become an FBI agent.

At the time, he was living in his parents’ basement with two undergraduate degrees and two graduate degrees.

But that’s when he got a phone call from Scott Pioli, the then-vice president of player personnel for the New England Patriots.

“I’m sure (my parents) were thrilled with all the money they spent on that great education. … I was sitting there, I had the book in my hand and my cell phone rang,” Ossenfort said. “It was Scott Pioli at the Patriots and he offered me a chance to come out and interview. It was a phone call that changed my life. I would’ve been a bad FBI agent.”

Ossenfort went on to be part of four Super Bowl-winning teams in his tenure in New England from 2003 and 2006-19 as he worked his from personnel assistant all the way up to director of college scouting.

Safe to say he made the right career choice.


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