For many athletes, the last game of their professional career simply signifies the end of a chapter in their life that becomes a cherished memory as they set out to embark on a new journey to find their purpose after football.
I embraced the idea of ‘what now?’
Little did I know that it was merely the beginning of something truly remarkable – the ability to use my platform to pay it forward and lead by example for the next generation.
From my early childhood days of working in my parents’ convenience store to earning to my college degree to playing football at the highest level and now coaching, there is one mindset that I have used as my approach on life and the message I try to instill in those around me - never let your dreams outweigh your work ethic.
I am blessed to have parents that taught me the value of hard work and the core values of integrity and respect. I can definitely say that is what has made me the man I am today. My work ethic stemmed from those days of working in the store in Esmont, VA and further fostered as I entered high school ready to dominate whatever obstacles stood in my way, on or off the field.
From the moment I stepped on to campus at Liberty University, I had teammates that took me under their wing and showed me the ropes. They became the brothers that I never had. Growing with them and seeing them accomplish some of their dreams of making it to the NFL gave me a confidence that I knew I could do it, too. And I did. I went on to play pro ball for three years with the Jacksonville Jaguars and throughout the course, learned a lot about myself and built upon those core values that were ingrained in me at such a young age.
My passion in life to fill a void for kids that might not necessarily have a ‘big brother’ in their life to show them the ropes is one of the driving factors behind all of the work that I do. I want to express that there are people out there who care and genuinely want the best for them in all stages of their life – not just in athletics.
In addition to learning the fundamentals of the game, I believe that the most vital time in a young man’s life ensues during his freshman year of college. The transition period from high school to college is where a boy becomes a man – whether he’s ready or not.
My mission is to mentor those young men, and honestly, that’s what led me to coaching. For me, it’s more about how can I affect change in them. It’s about how I can influence their lives in a positive manner. I’m in it to help them and make them not only better players, but more importantly, better men.
Just as those that came before me paved the way, I too aim to invest in the younger generation and hopefully, someday, they have the opportunity and choose to pay it forward as well. That’s the ultimate end game.