The day Jim Schwartz ate Bill Belichick's lunch

February, 19, 2009
2/19/09
5:38
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

INDIANAPOLIS -- The media room is closing here in a little bit, so for now we'll leave you with a pretty funny story as told by new Detroit coach Jim Schwartz.

Schwartz seems to be a good storyteller, so I'll let him relate the story verbatim. Here's the set-up: In 1993, Schwartz took a non-paying front office job with Cleveland under coach Bill Belichick. It was almost his last NFL job. The story has been told before, but I don't know that it's particularly well-known. Here's how Schwartz put it Thursday:

"It's a long story. I'd been hired for a job that paid zero. It paid zero. They gave me an apartment and I could eat food in the office. They always had stocked kitchens and things like that.

"They flew me up for a minicamp. What happened is Bill did the old NFL trick of, 'Hey, if you have a good practice on Thursday, I'll give you off on Friday.' Well, my plane ticket didn't go home until Friday. So he gave the team off, and all the coaches and players were out of there.

"Well, I don't have anything to do for a full day. So I'm around the office, literally the entire day, and don't see another soul. I'm waiting for my flight that doesn't leave until six o'clock. So I go in to grab some lunch and I use the last of the turkey.

"I'm literally getting some crackers and I take a bite of the sandwich and in walks coach Belichick. And he had been working out. He's rooting through the refrigerator. I'm eating. He looks over, and he asks, 'Have you seen the turkey?' I literally had used the exact last bit.

"I've got like a mouthful of it and I point and say, 'I just used the last.'

"I got one of those, 'Oh, what the ..." That was my first meeting. I called home and said, this might be a one-way ticket home."

It wasn't, of course. Sixteen years later, Schwartz became the Lions' head coach. My guess is the office kitchen will remain stocked at all times.

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