Although football players are paid highly to perform on the field, just like any other athlete, it isn’t forever. Because of this, players must find a way to prepare themselves for retirement. While some athletes have resorted to coaching or acting, other football players have become successful entrepreneurs to start their own businesses. For this piece, let’s take a look at 10 NFL players who are also successful business owners.
Marshawn Lynch: Beastmode Apparel
Marshawn Lynch carved out a successful career in the NFL by making five Pro Bowl appearances, leading in the NFL in rushing touchdowns twice, making the All-Pro team selection twice, and winning a Super Bowl championship. Now retired, Lynch serves as an owner of an indoor professional football team called FCF Beasts. But while doing so, Lynch’s most successful venture has been Beastmode Apparel. In 2019, the firm announced $150,000 in revenues as soon as Lynch was signed for his second stint with the Seattle Seahawks.
Drew Brees: Nine Brand
As a football player, Drew Brees has carved out a decorated NFL career by garnering five All-Pro team selections, 13 Pro Bowl appearances, and helping the New Orleans Saints win Super Bowl XLIV. But while Brees has been excellent on the field, the same can be said for his off-the-field ventures. Brees and his wife Brittany served as founders of online apparel store Nine Brand. The venture took off in 2012 with 9% of the proceeds going to the Brees Dream Foundation and some funds directed to the Hurricane Isaac recovery.
Lance Briggs: Double Nickel Smokehouse
Lance Briggs tallied 12 productive seasons in the NFL, playing his entire career with the Chicago Bears. He garnered seven Pro Bowl appearances and three All-Pro selections. After hanging up his sneakers, Briggs would open a family-friendly BBQ restaurant called Double Nickel Smokehouse, a nod to his NFL jersey number. His restaurant serves smoked brisket, salmon, short ribs, local beer, wine, and cocktails.
Charles Woodson: TwentyFour
When it comes to defensive backs, Charles Woodson is one of the best. He is a Hall of Famer who was crowned Defensive Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and helped the Green Bay Packers win Super Bowl XLV. While Woodson has pieced together a solid career, the wine he sells is also Hall of Fame worthy. Rated highly in the market, Woodson has a wine label called Twenty-Four. In fact, Wine Spectator only had positive things to say about Woodson’s wines.
John Elway: John Elway Autos
Making an impact on the field is a respectable feat. However, carving out an accomplished career in football and in business is a different level altogether. John Elway, two-time Super Bowl champion and NFL MVP, holds the record for the largest business deal executed by an NFL player. Elway earned $82.5 million after selling his car dealership chain John Elway Autos. Under John Elway Autos, his partners include Chevrolet, Chrysler, Cadillac, Toyota, MINI, and many more.
Gale Sayers: Sayers Technology Services
Gale Sayers had a productive NFL career. He earned NFL Comeback Player of the Year and Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Sayers is also a five-time All-Pro selection who made four appearances at the Pro Bowl. But aside from making an impact on the field, Sayers also made his presence known in the IT industry. With Sayers Technology Services, Sayers served as a consultant for various businesses in terms of providing IT solutions.
Isaiah Kacyvenski: MC10
Isaiah Kacyvenski played for seven years in the NFL, having stopovers with the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams. But while his football career wasn’t all too successful, Kacyvenski is making an impact on sports through his firm MC10. With a pre-med degree from Harvard University, Kacyvenski used his knowledge to develop several advanced technological products such as CHECKLIGHT. CHECKLIGHT is a sports impact indicator worn on the head.
Nick Foles: ATX Cocina
Like father, like son, that famous phrase certainly applies to Super Bowl champion and MVP Nick Foles. Foles’ father Larry is a respected figure in the restaurant industry, serving as one of the founders of a restaurant chain called Eddie V’s. The younger Foles is reportedly one of the owners of Mexican restaurant ATX Cocina.
Tom Brady: TB12
Tom Brady has been lauded for his longevity and a long list of achievements in the NFL including seven Super Bowl championships, five Super Bowl MVPs, and three NFL MVPs. Given his knowledge to stay healthy in a grueling league such as the NFL, it was perfect for him to find the health and wellness firm, TB12, Inc. The firm specializes in providing fitness products and nutritional supplements that help its clients with injury and athletic performance concerns.
Michael Griffin and Brian Orakpo: Gigi’s Cupcakes Franchise
Playing in the NFL isn’t going to last forever. As a result, two former teammates that played for the Tennessee Titans combined their efforts to open a Gigi’s Cupcakes franchise in Austin, Texas. Michael Griffin and Brian Orakpo decided to work together alongside friend Brian Hynson. Although it was a tough start, especially during a pandemic, Griffin and Orakpo eventually made a successful transition from Titans teammates to The Cupcake Guys.