When the Gridiron is Over

When the Gridiron is Over

~ Amy Lignor

RGIII is in the news a great deal lately when it comes to the discussion about his health and if he should retire early. Does he have the strength to actually get through a season and prove that he is just as good as people thought he was when he was first drafted by the NFL? Or are there some injuries that simply stop the body from performing to its maximum level. But RGIII is not the only one being discussed. Even the magnificent Manning and the bedazzling Brady of the NFL have had comments thrown at them every once in a while that state they are too old to continue. That the gig is up and it’s time for a new life. In their case the sun has set, whereas for RGIII he is a young guy who should be looking at the fact that there is more to life than football.nfl-wallpaper1


But many pros are afraid. After all, what exactly do you do after the gridiron comes to an end? If you retire or leave early because of choice or injury, can you only become a coach after the millions of dollars dry up?

The answer is: No.


There are many pro sports professionals who not only retired early but also took careers that were completely different from the NFL. And they made it just fine. So for the RGIII’s out there and the Manning who is looking for just that one more win before calling it a day, it is important to note that other career paths are waiting.


Just to name a few: Defensive tackle Ta’u Pupu’a sustained two foot injuries which led to him exiting the NFL when he was only twenty-five-years-old. What did he become? Believe it or not, he is now an opera singer. This is one man who went from sports to Julliard where he has shown his amazing voice in concerts all over the world. Does he miss football? Not really. Because he can kick butt as a tenor that everyone wants to hear.

Ta'u Pupu'a  Photo: cbsnews.com

Ta’u Pupu’a Photo: cbsnews.com


It was just this past March that Rashard Mendenhall, running back, announced that at only 26-years-old he was walking away from the NFL. A little vague on the why’s and wherefores, Mendenhall basically said the changing nature of football (which seems even worse now considering the constant headlines of child and wife abuse, drug charges – you name it), was just not for him.


There are those players who went on to serve the nation, such as Jon Runyan who became a U.S. Congressman and Bo Jackson who went on to legendary status in both the NFL as well as the acting community.


If the NFL pros wish to jump into the literary world, they can take a page from Tiki Barber’s handbook. This glorious running back of the Giants was just a little over thirty-years-old when he said goodbye to the gridiron. He wanted to head into broadcasting and also went on to pen well-received and beloved children’s books with his twin brother.

Tiki Barber at the Tribeca Film Festival

Tiki Barber at the Tribeca Film Festival


Although these may be examples of players who left the sport before their time was up; the old pros who are pushing for that one last shining moment should also think ahead. When the football career is over there is definitely more things out there to enjoy. And by hanging on for too long, you may just make a huge mistake and go out on the bottom instead of the top you’ve worked so very hard to achieve.


Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle

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