NFL Players Who Now Work Completely Different Careers
What is it NFL players do when they step off the football field for the last time? We associate these supreme athletes with their accomplishments on the gridiron, but when the day comes for them to retire, there’s a whole second life to be had. These are some of the most fascinating careers players have taken on after stepping away from football.
Myron Rolle was one of the top defensive talents in college football while playing for Florida State University’s powerhouse program. Even though a promising NFL career was on the horizon, Rolle had even greater plans: He was going to be a doctor.
After three outstanding seasons at FSU, Rolle was awarded the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, so he stepped away from football for a year to study at Oxford University to receive a MSc in Medical Anthropology.
In 2010, Rolle was drafted by the Tennessee Titans where he would go on to play two seasons before hanging up his pads for a white coat to be a neurosurgery resident at Harvard Medical School.
Throughout Martellus Bennett’s NFL career, he was one of the most talented tight ends in the league. A successful 10-year career was capped off in 2017 with a Super Bowl victory as a member of the New England Patriots, but his post-playing career has been even better.
Bennett’s has refocused his career to entertaining kids by starting a multimedia production company called The Imagination Agency.
The Imagination Agency does it all: children’s books, games on apps, animated series, toys, a clothing line… they’ll even throw themed parties!
Bennett has never been one to shy away from the media when it comes to controversial topics, but when it comes to the kids, his business is all about smiles.
In a sport that is constantly subject to controversy, there are few players in the history of the league who have been at the center of debate than Bill Romanowski.
From questionable comments and dirty plays to steroid use, scandal followed Romanowski wherever he played.
Turns out Romanowski’s test run with the juice was a full-blown health love affair. In 2006, the retired linebacker started up his own supplement company, Nutrition 53. His line of products cover everything from fat burners to meal replacements. Nutrition 53 even has products like Neuro1 for “brain performance,” which Romanowski said he’s taken to help with concussions suffered in the NFL.
Tony Romo’s time as quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys will always be remembered with mixed emotions. Despite being one of the best QBs in the league in his time under center, Romo was never able to secure lead Dallas to a Super Bowl let alone win one.
His next career step has been a very different story.
Romo left the field for the booth, accepting an NFL color analyst role with CBS Sports. It was immediately clear that Romo was born to excel in his new role, as the recently retired QB only needed a few games to convince viewers across America that he can see into the future with his play calling.
After retiring in 2016, Romo proved himself so good at his new job that he was in the broadcast booth for the Super Bowl for the 2018 season.
When an athlete retires, the next step in life is as good as guaranteed to come with some enormous changes. Big as those next steps in life may be, Brian Urlacher tops them all in an unmistakable way.
First off, the Chicago Bears legend and his famously bald dome became the face of RESTORE Hair’s ad campaign.
As if seeing the Hall of Famer’s cueball with a full head of hair isn’t already disorienting, he’s also taken up an acting career. Nope, he isn’t playing some crazy scary villain, he’s acting in Rob Riggle’s new comedy series, Rob Riggle’s Ski Master Academy.
Tim Tebow may have been out of the game on the NFL field for some time now, but the gifted athlete is far from giving up on his sports dream. Tebow’s supreme athleticism was unquestioned, but his mechanics as a quarterback simply couldn’t cut it, but settling for a broadcasting career was only temporary.
Despite not playing baseball since junior year in high school, Tebow decided he was going to give it a go. Slowly but surely, the former quarterback has been working his way up the ranks. Tebow signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets in September 2016. He’s made the leap from Class A to Class A-Advanced to Double-A, the second highest level of play in the minors.
Hall of Fame cornerback Ty Law was a beast from start to finish. Law racked up three Super Bowls while leading the NFL in interceptions on two occasions in his marathonlike 15-year career. Law decided to keep the trend of combining work with games in his next profession.
Law came up with the out of the box idea of opening a trampoline park. Launch Trampoline Park started as a popular local hit in New England and it’s spread like wildfire. The fun jungle gym of trampolines, ball pits, laser tag, dodgeball and more has now expanded franchises out to 15 states!
When New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe went down with an injury, Tom Brady came in and the rest is history. Even though Bledsoe was supposed to be the Patriots’ franchise QB, he took a backseat to Brady with dignity and class every step of the way.
Bledsoe has kept that class in his second career, founding Doubleback Winery in 2007 based out of Washington. The vineyards are located in and around Walla Walla, and they have produced some extremely popular wines, selling out regularly and even placing in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 wines. Whether it’s cabernet or chardonnay, Bledsoe’s got the grapes.
In his 15-year career with the New York Giants, Michael Strahan was the life blood of Big Blue. The only thing bigger than the hits the linebacker laid out on opposing teams was his infectious personality marked by that iconic buck-toothed grin.
Strahan was easily one of the league’s most personable players in the league, which he used to his advantage when landing his next gig as a TV personality. After winning a Super Bowl in 2007, Strahan took off the helmet to take over as co-host an array of morning talk shows, including his current daytime show, Strahan and Sara.
Even if they don’t get the chance to play a single down, simply getting selected in the NFL Draft is every football players’ dream. That is, everyone except for the six quarterbacks who had the misfortune of being drafted ahead of Tom Brady in 2000.
Giovanni Carmazzi was the second QB to get his name called, but he only lasted two years as an NFL backup. Brief stints in NFL Europe and the Canadian Football League ended his football career in 2005. Since then, Carmazzi has stayed well off the grid, working as yoga practitioner and living on a farm.
Give credit where credit is due, though. Carmazzi owns five goats, so he does technically own the GOAT in his own way.
Arian Foster was always a polarizing figure in what was an electric NFL career. By far one of the most talented running backs in the league, Foster was never afraid to speak his mind, which led to all sorts of weird, funny, jarring and eye-opening insights on his perspective of life and football.
Foster picked a solid next step to keep him occupied after football when he officially launched his rap career as Bobby Feeno in 2018.
The 32-year-old retired running back released his debut album under LeBron James’ record label. There could definitely be worse celebrities endorsing your music career.
For 16 years, John Elway was an unstoppable machine. The sharpshooting Broncos quarterback did it all, as he brought two Super Bowls to Denver. Elway may have already closed out his playing days in 1998, but his football career was still far from over.
Elway remained in Denver, Colorado, as the CEO and co-owner of the Arena Football League’s Colorado Crush from 2003 until the league folded in 2008. IN 2011, Elway returned to the Broncos as general manager and executive vice president of football operations, helping land Peyton Manning and finally bringing another championship home in Super Bowl 50.
Ed Newman, Tony Nathan
This is a one-of-a-kind story in its purest form. Offensive guard Ed Newman and running back Tony Nathan played the entirety of their NFL careers with the Miami Dolphins. For six seasons (1979-84), they played together as teammates. These two teammates took their talents from the gridiron to court.
The former Dolphins have since been working together on Team Good Guy for decades, as Newman and Nathan work at Miami-Dade county court as a judge and bailiff respectively. From heroes on the field to heroes in the courtroom, there are no two athletes anywhere who can say they’ve teamed up like these two.
Before he was one of the baddest dudes in the ring, Bill Goldberg began his career as a professional athlete as a defensive tackle in the NFL, WLAF and CFL. In 1995, he took off the helmet and pretty much everything else to compete in the WWE. It was a career move that would be worth its weight in gold.
No fancy name needed, he dropped the Bill and became known simply as Goldberg, and what an incredible journey it became. Along with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Stone Cold Steve Austin and other charismatic characters, Goldberg became one of the most recognizable names and faces in professional wrestling, helping the WWE rise to the global status it holds today.
It is truly an impressive accomplishment for a man who lasted an incredible eight seasons to have his next profession overshadow a great NFL run. Though Mike Golic was a solid defensive lineman in his stints with the Oilers, Eagles and Dolphins, it wasn’t until turning to a career in broadcasting that Golic’s name reached national acclaim.
Golic really struck gold when a variety of commentator and analyst jobs with ESPN and ABC landed him the Mike & Mike sports talk radio show with Mike Greenberg in 2000. The wildly popular talk show went the distance, lasting until 2017 when the Mikes decided they finally had enough of each other.
Former defensive end Greg Hardy was as promising a talent on the field as he was problematic off of it. A budding career with the Panthers and Cowboys was marred by character issues and legal trouble that reached a breaking point when a domestic assault case marked the end of his NFL run.
When Hardy was unable to return to the NFL, he turned to another sport. Hardy began his mixed martial arts training and quickly tore through his amateur competition. Despite plenty of backlash, Hardy got his second chance at competing as a professional athlete when Dana White signed him to the UFC where he’s embraced the bad guy role.
An unbelievable NCAA run as quarterback of the Texas Longhorns spelled a very bright future in the NFL for Vince Young, but that’s not quite how things panned out. A stellar rookie year in 2006 was one of two Pro Bowl seasons in what would otherwise prove to be a bright star that fizzled out to fast.
Young had some run-ins with the law and most of his earnings from his playing days, but he was able to get back on track with the help of his alma mater. The star quarterback returned to UT-Austin to work as a development officer for the University of Texas Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.
Steve DeOssie, Fred Smerlas
Former defensive lineman Fred Smerlas and linebacker Steve DeOssie spent a combined 26 seasons on the field, both closing out the final two years of their careers with the Patriots. When their playing days were over, they settled down in New England.
Both players have taken on roles as local sports radio cohosts for various stations and, in 2007, they joined forces to set up a new venture in Rhode Island’s Twin Rivers Casino. Their joint venture, Fred & Steve’s Steakhouse has been a staple of big New England eats. Leave it to some football players to deliver wicked satisfying heaping helpings and a quality steak.
Brian Bosworth’s NFL run lasted all of three seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, but his flamboyant style (hair game 10/10) made it truly unforgettable. Injuries cut his football career short, but Bosworth was born to be on screen, so he kept chasing that dream.
In 1991, the recently retired kicked off an acting career in truly Bosworth fashion, starring in the action movie Stone Cold. Bosworth’s was “rewarded” for his silver screen debut with a Razzie Award nomination for Worst New Star.
One bad movie didn’t keep the Boz down. In fact, the Boz has continued to make TV and movie appearances most recently appearing in What Men Want (2019).
When Chris Johnson entered the NFL in 2008, the Tennessee Titans running back didn’t waste a second in earning a reputation as one of the most dangerous offensive talents in the game. Explosive speed mixed with mesmerizing made for must-watch TV.
As is often the case, injuries accrued, forcing Johnson into a smaller role until he called it a career in November 2018. Johnson has approached the next stage of his career with the same speedy attitude. He and former college teammate Aundrae Allison founded their clothing line Wealthy War Intentions
Just one year after announcing his retirement, Johnson already plans to have his luxury menswear brand fully operational.