Transitioning to life after football can be a challenge for NFL players. When the time comes for them to leave the playing field, the league has programs that can help — including the NFL Legends Community, a support network of former players eager to offer their experience, support and advice.
Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, advises players approaching retirement to “develop a strong network of those who successfully transitioned.”
“My relationships with NFL Legends were instrumental in keeping me grounded, focused and on track,” Vincent said.
In a Jan. 2, 2015, Twitter chat, Vincent shared advice for successfully transitioning from the game. He was joined by Brian Dawkins, a member of the NFL Legends Community and one of Vincent’s teammates on the Philadelphia Eagles.
Vincent and Dawkins, an ESPN analyst, discussed the challenges that they and other players faced — determining what comes next, managing free time, staying healthy, and balancing work and family. As Vincent puts it, it’s about adjusting to “a new normal.”
Both men cite strong relationships as key; spouses, family members, friends and faith help. But the NFL can help, too. In addition to the Legends program, NFL Player Engagement Next includes programs that help players explore new careers, expand their networks, and learn how to live well after the game. The NFL’s Transition Assistance Program lets players, their partners and their families work with transition experts to develop a plan for the next phase of their lives.
While the transition isn’t always easy, Vincent and Dawkins assured players that their NFL experience helps set them up for success.
“Football is a microcosm of life,” Vincent said. “You have highs and lows. Each play teaches how to get better for the next one. The very components you apply to football emotionally and physically will help you transition.”
Vincent regularly hosts Twitter chats on football and NFL Operations. Follow him on Twitter at @TroyVincent23, and follow his conversations with the hashtag #TV23Chat.