Even for most athletes skilled and fortunate to make it to the National Football League, a long career of multimillion-dollar contracts is not in the cards.
This is why you often hear even celebrated athletes talk about setting themselves up for the future and making a transition once their playing days are over.
Some former NFL players have become highly successful entrepreneurs after hanging up the cleats. Let’s take a closer look at six NFL players turned businessmen.
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Tom Brady is perhaps the greatest, if not most successful person to ever play in the NFL. He set nearly every quarterback record since joining the league in 2000 and retiring earlier this month. He won seven Super Bowls and defied time by playing into his early 40s.
A big part of that is due to Brady’s health and training regimen. He actually parlayed that regimen into a sports performance company called TB12 Inc., which launched in 2013.
Roger Staubach played 11 seasons (1969-1979) in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys, winning two Super Bowls along the way. Towards the end of his career, he founded a commercial real estate business, The Staubach Company. In 2008, the company was sold to Jones Lang LaSalle for $613 million. Not bad for a guy who signed a rookie contract for $25,000.
Gale Sayers played seven injury-plagued seasons (1965-1971) for the Chicago Bears. He launched the Crest Computer Supply Co. in 1984. Now known as Sayers 40 Inc, the company provides information technology products, services and support.
Sayers died in 2020 at the age of 77.
Calvin Johnson shocked the league when he retired in 2015 after nine seasons with the Detroit Lions. A big part of stepping away so soon was due to the injuries he sustained playing at such a high level.
Johnson decided to be a part of the solution, dipping his feet into the marijuana industry with fellow Lion Rob Sims by launching Primitiv, a Michigan dispensary chain. He also partnered with partnership with Harvard to study the effects of cannabis on CTE and its benefits in managing pain.
Rick Mirer played 11 seasons in the NFL (1993-2004), although he never quite lived up to the billing he received as the quarterback at the University of Notre Dame. After retirement, he helped launched the wine company Mirror Napa Valley in 2008.
Carl Banks played 11 years (1984-1995), winning two Super Bowls with the New York Giants. He’s now the president of GIII Sports, a company that has produced licensed apparel for the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, and colleges and universities for over 20 years.