They had attended symposiums and talked football over lunch a few times, and when Marc Trestman was out of work, Sean Payton came through with an assist.
For that, the Bears' coach is grateful.
There probably won't be much time for reminiscing when Chicago takes on New Orleans at Soldier Field this weekend.
Trestman had just been fired after a two-year run as offensive coordinator at North Carolina State and was on a sort of sabbatical when he was hired as a consultant to Payton, the Saints' coach, for the 2007 season.
For Trestman, the consulting job was "an opportunity to have some dignity in my career."