The friendship between Rick Smith and Kevin Sumlin has paid dividends professionally and personally for both. The Texans general manager and the Texas A&M head coach each played collegiately at Purdue, although their careers didn't overlap. At Tuesday's Pro Day for the Aggies, Sumlin said Smith has been a big help.
"He's been a real sounding board for me from a developmental standpoint," Sumlin said. "We have the opportunity to discuss a lot of different things."
The two former Boilermaker defenders—Sumlin was a linebacker, Smith a safety—don't just talk football, however.
"A lot of those conversations have nothing to do with what's going on here today," Sumlin said. "But just in general about football. About careers. About ideas. Thoughts."
A slew of Aggies worked out Tuesday for NFL scouts and general managers at the McFerrin Athletic Center in College Station. 2012 Heisman winner Johnny Manziel, wide receiver Mike Evans and offensive lineman Jake Matthews were in attendance, but didn't go through the slew of drills like their former teammates. That trio will go through a separate Pro Day later this month.
Manziel and Matthews have been discussed as possible first round selections for the Texans in May's NFL Draft. Sumlin's guided the Aggies to a 20-6 record in his two seasons as head coach, and can provide valuable insight to Smith.
He was also very complimentary of the Texans' franchise, dating back to his days as the head coach at the University of Houston. Specifically, he was appreciative of the open-door policy the Texans extended to the Cougars.
"We brought our whole team over to practice a couple times and let them watch," Sumlin said. "You don't get to do that a lot. There are a lot of organizations that won't open their doors and have that. We value that relationship and we look forward to that continuing."