National Football League (NFL) stars will be eyeing victory every start of the new season, but as numerous past and present American football players have demonstrated, these athletes can be successful off the pitch as well.
A host of names from the previous years’ roster, from quarterbacks to wide receivers, are actively pursuing entrepreneurship or are excelling somewhere else outside the sport.
Listed below are six people who played or are still playing professional football and went on to excel at a position that didn’t require them to wear pads.
The Seattle Seahawks picked Shawn Springs as their third overall in the 1997 NFL draft. He’s a record holder for the highest draft pick for a cornerback to this day.
While in Seattle in the late 1990s, he was exposed to the technology boom when small startups, like Starbucks and Amazon, were blossoming into the giant companies they are today. Springs was inspired to become an entrepreneur after soaking in a culture of innovation. He just recently retired from the game and built something meaningful after his career.
In 2011, Springs started Windpact (U.S. trademark registration number 5,281,738). It’s an impact protection company that aims to make everyday lives safer, especially for athletes like him.
Springs and Windpact built a dedicated team of world-class scientists, designers, and engineers with a common goal of finding breakthroughs in the science of impact and learn more about how materials actually dissipate energy to improve impact protection.
Brandon Copeland plays for the New England Patriots as a defensive end or a linebacker. During the off-season, Copeland works remotely for Weiss Multi-Strategy Advisers as an analyst. He believes that professional sports are unpredictable and that even guaranteed football will end one day, so he’s already trying out a career outside the game at this early stage.
When Copeland retires from the NFL, he should be set for success since firm founder George Weiss already expressed his desire to hire the defensive end the second his career is over. Not to mention, Brandon Copeland also reportedly saves 90 percent of his income.
The former Denver Broncos quarterback is proud of his pizza venture, calling it a smart investment now and long after he’s done playing football. Manning owns 21 Papa John’s franchises within the Denver area. He liked the fact that Papa John’s pizza was actually an official sponsor of the Broncos. He had even participated in promoting the pizza chain in the past. Peyton Manning believes that marijuana legalization in Colorado is good news for pizza places, which means that business is booming for the years to come.
After filling in as a co-host for the TV show “Live! With Regis and Kelly” in 2010, Michael Strahan featured permanently as a co-host in 2012. Although he’s still technically working in the sport as a member of the team behind Fox NFL Sunday, the former New York Giants player has become quite a media mogul since retiring from the NFL after the 2007 season.
In 2016, Michael Strahan announced that he’s leaving “Live! With Kelly and Michael” to start a new role with another TV show, “Good Morning America”.
In addition to working on “Good Morning America,” the former professional football player was named the host of “$100,000 Pyramid”. The game show is a revival project from the ABC network.
Rucker bought two Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt franchises back when he played for the Cincinnati Bengals. He last played for the Oakland Raiders as a defensive end. Rucker has a name that seems custom-made for his frozen yogurt business.
A breakfast-only Mcdonald’s was actually his first business idea, but, according to Frostee, when it didn’t work out, he turned to invest in fro-yo. The former professional football player believes that becoming an entrepreneur while still playing was one of the best decisions he made in life since it doesn’t limit him to being a football player. It’s like learning a new language, Rucker said.
In 2012, Drew Brees signed a record-breaking $100 million contract to become the New Orleans Saints’ new quarterback. It’s a position he still holds today, in addition to being one of the founders of Nine. He and his wife launched Nine, an online clothing company, a few years ago.
All too often, the playing careers of professional athletes, despite being profitable, last a few short years. They’re one of the highest paid people in the world, but many players struggle to stretch their income once those years are over. The smart ones, however, start thinking early about their second acts. Kudos to these current and past NFL players who have also succeeded in businesses or careers outside the sport.