By Rachel Terrill, Player Engagement Insider
“How does it feel to be Clark Kent?” a friend asked former NFL running back (New York Giants, Indianapolis Colts) Keith Elias after he retired from the NFL.
Comparing NFL players to Superman is hardly new, as fans around the world watch their super heroes on the NFL field.
But at The Bridge to Success, Elias flipped the script for over 150 NFL Legends.
“You are not Clark Kent, he said. “Playing in the NFL did not make you Superman. If you know anything about superheroes, you know that playing in the NFL didn’t make you Superman. You were a Superman already, that’s why you made it to the NFL. We are here at The Bridge to Success to remind you of who you already are.”
The mission at The Bridge to Success is to equip and empower former players to become as successful off the field as they were on the field.
“You are not alone and you will certainly not be left behind. That’s what The Bridge to Success is all about, said Elias, currently the director of Former Player Transitions and Programs for NFL Player Engagement.
The Bridge to Success helps players celebrate the past, assess the present, and equip themselves for the future.
“You played in the NFL and that is amazing, but sometimes we don’t think of it like that,” Elias said.
Celebrating the past can sometimes be a challenge for NFL players after they retire. “We have such high expectations of ourselves that sometimes we look at our past careers as what we didn’t do, “Elias said. “We all have unfinished business. But we can also celebrate what we’ve done while celebrating that the NFL season in our life is over.”
Assessing the present encourages players to make sense of their lives as they are now. Elias encouraged NFL Legends to take an inventory of their identity by examining their relationship with themselves, with their family, and with their community.
The future can be bright for NFL Legends who leave the NFL with transferrable skills.
“Skills like hard work, determination, and passion for being your best made you successful there and they can empower you for the future,” Elias said. “We can show you how to dream even bigger for the rest of your life.”
Think of transition in the NFL as the passing of a baton at a relay race.
“Sometimes it feels like you have to hand off your NFL life and someone else takes it and you are left in the horizon wondering what you are supposed to do now,” he explained. “But what if we were the baton – or what if we were both guys? Instead of handing your future into the unknown, what if you were handing your future to your future self? Your future self is your stronger self. It may not feel like it tonight, but it will. You are still a Superman.”
The Bridge to Success is an annual event to help players successfully transition from the NFL toward the rest of their lives. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out this video: