2017 NFLPA Externship Rewind
After three weeks of helping design emojis, tackling crime and testing out sleep pods, the fourth annual NFLPA Externship is in the books. The 2017 program featured an unprecedented 41 players at 15 different organizations across the country. Here are several highlights from the players’ experience:
With the ongoing political drama in Washington, D.C., Dion Bailey, Karim Barton (Tennessee Titans) and Will Pericak (Seattle Seahawks) figured to be in for quite an experience. Their time on Capitol Hill did not disappoint. Bailey worked to empower inner-city youth, Barton helped draft a resolution to pardon Jamaican civil rights activist Marcus Garvey and Pericak sat in on a Senate hearing about wireless technology.
BROWARD COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
“I grew up around [law enforcement]. The interest has always been there. It was going to be my Plan B if I didn’t make it to the NFL. I was blessed enough to make it to the NFL, but someday my career will be over”- Indianapolis Colts defensive end Kendall Langford, whose father was an officer for 37 years.
CSN MID-ATLANTIC & ESPN 980
A.J. Francis is no stranger to working outside football. He spent time as an Uber driver, hosts a weekly wrestling podcast and hopes to one day enter politics. The versatility of this outgoing Washington Redskin was again on display during his externship, appearing on air and working behind the scenes for CSN Mid-Atlantic and ESPN 980.
“I think it’s very important for guys in the NFL to take advantage of these programs because... we all know we can’t play forever and it’s an awesome opportunity to just figure out what your passion is and figure out where you can fit in”- Art Jones, Indianapolis Colts.
“The externship at the NFLPA provided me with an opportunity to experience a real work environment and contribute to the betterment of the game that has provided so much for me and my family”- Darryl Tapp, New Orleans Saints.
Valerian Ume-Ezeoke quickly learned that there’s much more to Panini America than ripping open a pack of trading cards. As chronicled in his weekly blog, the Pittsburgh Steeler learned about photo editing and the manufacturing process and also witnessed deals being made at the NFL Combine.
K.J. Wright of the Seattle Seahawks proved an invaluable resource for The Trust, using his first-hand knowledge to help improve the programs it offers transitioning football players. “You’ve got to invest in yourself so that when the time does come (to move on from football), you’re ready to go.”
“For me, it’s all about a philosophy I live by: ‘We can do more together than we can ever do alone.’ I think football is the best teacher of that…and I think that’s the same in serving the community. We all want to change the world, but it’s going to come from us working together”-Demario Davis, Cleveland Browns.
"Whenever an opportunity arises, to not seize that opportunity seems to not be wise, and that’s why I took this externship position.”-Anthony Castonzo, Indianapolis Colts