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When the Game is Over: Freddie Scott II’s tips for transitioning from the NFL

By Rachel Terrill, Player Engagement Insider

Freddie Scott II always dreamt of being an NFL player. From the time he could run, Freddie imagined scoring touchdowns. His dad, Freddie Scott, Sr. played wide receiver for the Baltimore Colts and the Detroit Lions, so it is no wonder that young Freddie dreamt of being an NFL player too.

From as early as he can remember, Scott imagined himself as an NFL player – he even laid out his tiny replica Detroit Lions uniform, just like he imagined his Dad’s uniform was laid out in the Lions locker room. When it was game time, young Scott imagined that his garage became The Pontiac Silverdome as he ran into the crowd of 90,000 imaginary roaring fans. There, he played the game – the whole game. He was quarterback, running back, and wide receiver. When the game was over, he was always victorious – and he even shook his imaginary opponents’ hands at the end of the imaginary game.

Playing in the NFL was the only future Scott had ever envisioned for himself. In 1996, Scott’s boyhood dream became a reality when he signed with the Atlanta Falcons. The fans were no longer imaginary, nor were his opponents. On game day, he donned his real NFL uniform and he ran onto the real NFL field… where he heard the real roaring cheers of the home team’s fans. Scott played for two seasons with the Falcons before signing with the Indianapolis Colts.

Scott was living his NFL dream with the Indianapolis Colts the day he caught his first real NFL touchdown pass. As he caught the ball in the end zone, he felt a pop in his leg. With that play – Scott’s dream came true - and came to an end.  The NFL life he’d envisioned for himself since he was a small child was suddenly over. 

What comes next for those who’ve lived their dream? For Scott, the answer was dreaming another dream. After the abrupt end to Scott’s NFL career, he went back to school to earn a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership and a certification in Leadership Development and Executive Coaching from the Townsend Institute.

Today, Scott travels throughout America to help empower former NFL players and others to identify and cultivate their gifts. 
He uses his unique background in his endeavors as an author, a certified Transition Coach for the NFL Player Engagement Program, and as a family expert for the NFL Players Association conducting workshops across the country to help others.

At the 2017 NFL Bridge to Success, Scott shared his story and some insights on transition. His goal was to help the wives and girlfriends of NFL players better understand the men they love. By sharing his story, he helped the women see what it may have been like when their significant other transitioned out of the NFL.

The women in the room laughed and cried along to his story. He described the most common issues that players experience during their transition from the game including connecting with and sharing emotions, feelings of low self-esteem, lack of trust, feelings of abandonment, and a lack of confidence.

Scott encouraged the women to help their NFL players to think about their futures. Like Scott, all NFL players can benefit from dreaming another dream.

Scott gave the women a list of questions that they can ask themselves and their significant others as they begin to uncover their unique calling:

  • What am I passionate about?
  • What and I for? Against?
  • Who inspires me? Why?
  • What do I love to do?
  • What makes me feel fulfilled?

“Asking these questions will offer clues to your calling, which will help you understand your future,” Scott said.

Finally, Scott offered ways to help those experiencing a major transition:

  • Listen and attune… listen for feeling words. “Emotions are like an onion; start peeling away the layers to get to the root of what is really being felt.”
  • Show empathy
  • Let them grieve the loss. “Grief serves as a signpost that something or someone important was here.”
  • Help them dream again. “Life would be boring if we dreamt the same dream every night – we’re wired to be creative. Don’t be afraid to dream!”

When Scott stepped off the football field, he stepped into a life of serving others. “It is in serving others that we move beyond ourselves and beyond our self pity,” he said. “It is there, in service to others, that we can all begin move beyond the life we once dreamt we might have and into the reality of our future.”

The NFL Bridge to Success is an annual event designed to equip and empower former NFL players and their significant others to successfully transition from the NFL toward the next season of their lives. For more information email or check out this video .


Dubbed “Dr. Love” for her work on marriage and relationships, Rachel Terrill is passionate about making marriages work.  Rachel is the wife of Craig Terrill, who played for the Seattle Seahawks from 2004-2011. Rachel spent the last thirteen years investigating the relationships and marriages of professional athletes. Rachel earned her Ph.D. in Communication from The University of South Florida. She teaches at Northwest University and she serves as a family advisor for the NFL Players Health Study at Harvard University. Her work has been featured in radio, television, online, and print publications. You can reach her at

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