First, tell us how you got to become the Director of HR for the Carolina Panthers – what drove you in that direction?
When I left the Steelers I went to work for Duke Energy in Charlotte, North Carolina. I wanted to be in corporate. I started in government affairs and then moved to the services department. Something then hit me – why not HR? I had my degree in Labor Relations. I told my boss – the VP of Government Affairs that. He talked with the head of the department and I moved there and had been at Duke for seventeen years.
I was ready for a change though when I got an email from the NFLPA about a job opening at the Panthers. I submitted my resume and got selected for the job.
First, can you let readers know about how you got started in your broadcasting career?
During my kicking days in Pittsburgh I would do a radio show. When I went to New England they had me do a radio show there too. I thought, outside of times like when you have your hand on a Bible in the courtroom, how many times do you get where people have to listen you!
I fell in love with sports in general. Hockey, everything. There was a common thread across all sports in the people’s stories that play them. I learned not to say “I know because I played.” I did it once and hated how it sounded. After a while I was able to forget that I played.
First, you recently retired from the NFL. What are you doing with yourself now?
I’ve started a non-profit – Above the Hills. I’m providing young children of color history and education about life outside the United States. I’m trying to help them make the right choices. They come from tough backgrounds and I’m trying to show them that they don’t have to be a product of the environment they are raised in. They can be the product of the choices they make, Not their environment.
First, tell us a bit about your new venture?
I’m working with a data company called Impellia. It’s actually a suite of platforms which makes it unique to help with injury prevention, sports performance, and the rehabilitation process for players. A lot of data companies are just one platform that regurgitates information. I chose to work with Impellia because it is different for two reasons. First, you can incorporate every platform you use and integrate them all into it. That allows you to get historical data. The second is its fully customizable. Instead of us dictating the information, you can make it what you want it to be to search for what you need to look for.
And the people. Rick, Charlie, and Dave – that’s a great cast of minds to join!
First, can you let us know what you’ve been doing with yourself since the NFL and how hard the post-NFL adjustment was for you?
I’m the owner of an investment practice. I’ve been in the financial services industry for seventeen years. Now, I provide retirement planning and investment services.
The adjustment,…it wasn’t an illustrious career – but I fulfilled a childhood dream. I was a bubble guy – not a superstar. It was a childhood dream but it comes to an end. It was difficult at first – difficult to figure out what I should do for the rest of my life. You get used to everyone taking care of you and then that dries up. That was a difficult adjustment. Then I got challenged financially, trying to keep up after the other guys.
First, tell me about your new career s a coach – what made you decide to become a coach?
I enjoy it – sports has been such a large part of my life. It shaped who I am today. That’s why I wanted to do it. It’s been great. When I retired I helped the basketball coach at Eaton and then the football coach asked me to help them. It’s a dream come true to be able to coach both sports.
First, tell me a bit about what you’ve been doing since your time in the NFL?
Now, I’m actually helping out at a local high school here in Miami – coaching their secondary. I’m coaching the varsity and JV team.
Also – me and my father-in-law also started a contracting business. I’m just trying to keep busy and get out of the house a bit!
First, can you tell us about your broadcasting career – how you got started any why?
When I finished with the NFL after playing for the Jets, I thought I’d find something that involved working with my hands. My dad was a NASCAR guy – he built race cars and was good with his hands. I had a friend who was a homebuilder. I figured I’d apprentice under him for a year. That was the plan.
But as I was about to do that I got a call from WPXI. They were interested in having me do their pre and post game shows for the Steelers and some preseason games. I thought about it and told them I’d be happy to do it for a year. But I demanded to do a feature story each week as well. If I did it I wanted to learn the business and do it right. I had no TV background so they were reticent but tried it for a year. Week in and week out I got better and better at it. I asked them for unfettered access to their news reporters so I could learn the business more. They were happy to allow that – they weren’t paying me more to do the extra work. I spent four-to-five nights a week with Sam Nover seeing how they put pieces together. Mind you this was before we had the twins. I’d do mock broadcasts to practice.
First, as the offensive line coach now for UCLA – tell me about about who has influenced you as a coach, and how?
It’s funny. Reflecting back, my dad was a huge influence. He coached me all the way up to high school in every sport – baseball, basketball…on the travel teams.. He influenced me. always wanted to coach – he was my first ever coach, from day one, since I was six.
Joe Hammond was my high school coach – hs a legendary coach in Maryland where I grew up. And of course I had Joe Walton and Dan Radakovich at RMU. Joe was a top fifty ballplayer at Pitt and coached for twenty-plus years in the league and in college.
First, tell me what you’ve been doing with yourself since you retired?
Well, I’ve been keeping things low-keyed. I’m not on social media – I don’t know what’s going on with anyone except for some of the guys I keep in touch with. The big thing is my family. I retired at thirty. My kids now are nine, six, and five. Taking care of them is a lot harder work – no days off. I used to look forward to the Summer – now it’s the hardest time of my life. But I love it.
I like having that – I didn’t have a father around me when I was younger. I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to be with my family. I played long enough to accumulate the wealth I needed so I can take care of my family, Now I can help my wife and be with the kids. Less is more.