The premise that every NFL player’s sport leaves a rich man is as accurate as believing in football – round.
Yes, there are hundreds of players earning millions of dollars, top-notch guys whose careers are much longer than average.
Then there are the thousands of men who leave the game in their early 20s or 30s with a pretty nest egg, but need to find a way to support themselves and their families for the rest of their lives.
The NFL Player Care Foundation, founded in 2007 with the mission of improving the quality of life for former players, created the Super Bowl Career Fair. Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, this year the third edition was carried out remotely through a career portal, which allows employers to send potential unemployment opportunities directly to those former players. More than 40 national companies participated in February, including PepsiCo, where three-time NFL midfielder Cleo Lemon has been working since September, and Cowboys four-year-old defender Tony Dixon has been working since 2009. ,
As his current role as Customer Management Director, Dixon helps bring together former NFLers at a career fair. For years he noticed the reluctance of Fortune 500 corporations to follow athletes.
“Athletes who have had successful careers in these organizations have been required to recognize the value they can bring, and they value those organizations,” Dixon said. “As many skills as we are taught through sports are very transferable to any organization. How to persist? How to deal with pressure? How to have a short memory. How to be a good playmate.
“It simply came to our notice then. It’s a great experience to have in the NFL, but if you’re not in the top percentage of most teams, you do not know the face, you may not know the names. “
And those former players had to fight against the prejudiced opinion that they are nothing but athletes. That they are not smart enough. That they do not have those transferable abilities.
“I open that gap as a person who has been there, done it, can relate to their experience,” Dixon added. “I do not care how many years they played, they wanted to play more. I do not care how much money they earned, they wanted to earn more. Let’s talk about your transferable skills. “Many people have no idea how to get it out.”
A career fair helps on two levels. Former players have the opportunity to present their talents that are applicable in the business world. Companies such as Microsoft, SiriusXM, Lowe’s և FedEx Ground, plus the NFL and nine teams, have organized interviews և a large number of recruitment opportunities.
Lemon has coached the NFL և From 2017 to 2020 he was the quarterback of Exxonville’s quarterback. Work commitments robbed him of too much family time, so he attended last year’s career fair in Miami.
“I went with an open mind, with my resume, of actually the idea of what I was looking for, but I did not know what would be offered or what opportunities there are,” says Lemon. “The career fair was very informative.
“For me, what he presented is an opportunity for companies looking for young, talented individuals who are trying to expand beyond their comfort zone, to meet people from different organizations, to see what they are doing with my principles. The fair was a tool that helped me use my opportunities. ”
He was hired by PepsiCo at the Miami Fair.
Tony Simmons, who won the NFL, CFL և Arena Football, as a former college railroad star, would not need a career fair to build his own successful business after building 6 Point Athletics. But the epidemic wreaked havoc on the fitness industry, with Simmons registering for this year’s fair in absentia.
He already holds a Master’s degree in Management Program Management and has worked on six continents. Nevertheless, Simmons prospered to attend.
“Sometimes you have to see yourself at the corporate level,” says Simmons. “As players we have not worked at the corporate level, I have been away from that corporate world for years. “Maybe that’s what I might have to go through.”
Among others, Simmons spoke with PepsiCo, Microsoft, SiriusXM և EA Sports. He thinks that the energy of the former athlete is beneficial during any interview or work.
“It’s nice when people see you as Tony, as something different, something that interests you, not as a footballer,” he said. “They liked the way the athlete thought. Our energy levels are really high, we can learn anything. We learned a 150-page booklet in one week, so if we can learn very complex performances, we can learn the code և this whole thing. ”
A total of 153 former players had at least one conversation with a potential employer. None of this could have happened without the NFL Player Care Foundation Super Bowl Career Fair.
“I was looking at the NFL as a starting point in my life to do something I love, I trained all my life to play in the NFL,” says Lemon. “I have made lifelong friends, but it’s a small part of your life.
“Work in the shadows և practice ում their placement, transition can be difficult և find out what you really want to do. “I think the NFL is doing a great job of preparing the boys for life after football.”
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