If you ask any player why they wanted to be in the NFL, they would say the same thing: Football is life.
A luxurious career, doing what you have done practically your whole life sounds amazing. The money is great and the pride of being an NFL player is on a whole different level.
What happens when your time is up and you are told to hang up the cleats?
Roughly 75% of NFL players end up being bankrupt or financially unstable within two years of retirement. Some players go from rags to riches and then back to rags. Marques Ogden, a former NFL player, was fortunate enough to make the right moves throughout his NFL career so that he could be in a good situation for retirement. Even then, he hit a crossroads and entered a dark place. The money he saved and invested was gone practically overnight. His story is fascinating in so many ways; how he was able to bounce back and turn things around, something many people struggle to do. I was fortunate enough to talk to him about his transition from the NFL to post NFL career, as well as his book “Sleepless Nights: The NFL: A Business And Family”. Definitely worth checking out because it’s not just a book for NFL players, but anyone looking for a positive light in a dark place.
Before I dig into the interview, here is some information about Marques.
He graduated in 2002 from Howard University with a Bachelors degree in Finance as well as being a part of the schools NCAA Division 1 football team. He was a sixth round pick in 2003, drafted by the Jaguars. As an offensive lineman with the Jags, he was surrounded with veterans who gave him support and advice. After several stints with the Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans, Ogden hung up the cleats. He is the younger brother of Jonathan Ogden, the former Ravens offensive tackle.
When he retired, he had money put away and he invested in his own construction company. He exited the NFL in a good and sustainable financial situation, confident that he would be able to live life comfortably as a typical person, not an NFL player anymore. The company was successful for a while but after one bad decision, he lost everything. He entered a dark place, full of depression and financial stress; something most NFL players go through several years after retirement because of poor spending and not budgeting their money. Only he did the right things, yet was dealt bad cards.
Fast forward to today and he has found his way back on top and is doing well. The struggle was real, but he was able to overcome that and in return, find a career for himself which he holds the strongest passion for. He’s now a public speaker for JP Morgan Chase, Net App, Siemens Technology, Babson College and Woman Veterans Interactive as well as starting his own speaking academy. His success is a direct result from his hard work and dedication to what he now loves to do.
I asked him some important questions regarding his NFL career and the transition to the post NFL life.
Here’s what he has to say!
What kind of changes happen mentally and physically to a player when they make their exit from the NFL?
“It’s very difficult. People don’t understand that I was playing football for what seemed like my entire life. From age 14 to almost 30. You do it for so long, it becomes a livelihood. This aggressive, physical and violent game was life and then one day you can’t do it anymore. It can be very tedious to step away from the game. The first few years were difficult because I wasn’t in the NFL anymore but you feel like you are still. Then I found my business/corporation and things were good until one bad decision flipped my life upside down. I went through another transition and went bankrupt. The failure and financial distress caused me to go through a deep depression, it was my fault. However, I was able to dig myself out of the hole and regain what I had lost.”
What does the NFL do to help players with the transition?
“They do a lot to help out the players. I’m currently an NFL Trust Player. Trust players were formed in 2013/2014 as part of the CBA. We help players transition with job training/placement, careers, and even body and brain assessments. I help players exiting the NFL who want to pursue a career in public speaking. They want to tell their story in a powerful career. The NFL is definitely doing a lot to help make the transition easier for players and it is something I enjoy being a part of.”
Did you learn anything from former teammates regarding fiances or a post NFL career?
“TE Kyle Brady (Jets first round pick 96′) gave me some great advice. When he went to the Jags, I was a rookie so he was an 8 year veteran. He told me to “use my career as a transition to another career and that you have to be smart and make the right moves.””
What is the most important advice you can give to a young NFL player?
“The money you make in the beginning should be put away and saved. Investing it is also a great idea. Rob Gronkowski hasn’t touched any of his contract money up to this day. You have 21 weeks of pay, if your team doesn’t make the playoffs, it’s important to learn how to budget and plan for the future. I’m in a documentary with Mike Ditka, Derek Jeter, Shaq and some others called “Beyond the game” where I talk about financial literacy, understanding revenue vs expense, budget planning etc…”
Do you have any advice for current players or anyone in financial distress?
“Yes! First thing: find people that are close. You need a support system and I found family was the best. I leaned on my wife for emotional and moral support through my deep depression. My wife was critical in helping me regain emotional stability, getting back on my feet and then after awhile I was able to get counseling and therapy. It’s all about taking things one day at a time. Don’t bite off more then you can chew. Set realistic goals for yourself and get those wins in the win column! It’s important to get yourself back to being confident in your abilities, if your goals are set too high, stress will come pouring down and that is no good.”
What did you do to get those “wins back in the win column”?
“For me in the beginning, it was getting that new client every day, or at least getting that phone call in every day. Getting people for football training etc. Eventually, it was getting the first paying gig as a public speaker. It took me 18 months to get that. Once I signed my book contract on October 27th 2013, things began to take off. I released the book exactly one year after the date. Over the course of the past 8 moths, I have been pursuing my career as a public speaker after dealing with rejection. It’s hard at first because people never make it as a public speaker if they can’t invest the time needed in the beginning to set a foundation. Its rough at first because nobody (companies) likes to be the first over the fence. Corporations don’t want to take the chance if they’re the first to hire you. Too much risk involved for them if you mess up. If you go in and flop, they could lose their jobs and quite frankly, sports is irrelevant to public speaking, you have to prove yourself”
Here is what Marques is up to now…
He’s currently in Dallas getting ready to speak for Exfuze, June 17-18 and also on the 18th he will be speaking at the High School Home School League earlier on in the day.
Later this year on October 27-28, 2016, he will be at the Doubletree by Hilton in downtown Atlanta, GA with his “Ogden Speaking Academy”. He will be speaking about practical and substantive applications that will assist you in transitioning your career to the next level. He will be speaking to former athletes, business professionals, aspiring speakers, networking executives, individuals wanting to enhance their presentation skills and young professionals.
For more information about Marques, visit: http://marquesogden.com/
Original Site – NFL CHALK TALK – http://nflchalktalk.com/one-one-marques-ogden/