Inside this week's FPN
Congrats to former NFL defensive back Curtis Holcomb on being sworn in as a new member of the Orlando Police Department!

Holcomb played college football at Florida A&M and was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 2011

Former NFL player Drayton Florence develops app to help military veterans
By Diamond Leung, Sports Illustrated

AUSTIN, Texas – Drayton Florence grew up in a military household and went on to have an 11-year NFL career. When he got into tech after his playing career, he decided to use his skills to help military veterans.

Florence helped develop the Vets 22 app, which aims to give veterans easy access to resources including housing solutions, employment opportunities, discounts, chat features and crisis hotlines. Researchers estimate an average of 22 military veterans commit suicide every day.

“We always see stories about NFL players struggling with their transitions, and for me, I saw military personnel do the same thing,” Florence said at the South by Southwest Conference. “So upon my retirement, I was having lunch with a retired colonel and some Iraqi war veterans, and they were asking me about my transition from the NFL, and then I asked them, and it was a lot of similarities as far as getting help, resources.

“So we put together an app where military veterans can have their resources at the click of a button — suicide prevention, a 22-pushup challenge that you can go on to encourage other veterans, VA benefits and claims information.”

Florence developed the app with a company for which he serves as director of strategic partnerships called Tech From Vets and Jeff Shuford, who is president of the company and an Iraq War veteran. The app is self-funded and has an Indiegogo that seeks to raise $50,000 as well as awareness about the resource. The money will go toward marketing in order to get the free app to veterans in the Jacksonville, Fla. area.

After launching the app last month, Florence said that next he wanted to create an app for NFL players in transition after their careers on the field.

“The hustle part for me was the preparation,” Florence said of the transition to the tech space with Tech From Vets. “Most people kind of get confused when they say ‘hustle.’ It’s not hustle in energy. It’s mental.”

For Engadget, Shuford wrote of Florence, “Drayton has a passion for bringing technology to Northeast Florida. Utilizing Drayton’s extensive knowledge of business and his determination help Tech From Vets make an impact in the Tech sector Drayton has become a force to be reckoned with in the tech industry.

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Former player author: Tyrone Smith
San Francisco 49ers
Baylor University -  Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Social Work

The Leader
Tyrone Smith has taken the outstanding leadership skills that he possesses, and developed programs to help others learn the secrets to successful leadership. As co-founder of First and Goal, Incorporated, Tyrone has had the opportunity to teach thousands the values of leadership, and how to become leaders in their personal and professional lives. His work with various groups has helped others not only gain the skills, but the confidence and character to become effective leaders.
The Innovator
The true strength of an innovative mind is the ability to see what needs to change.  Tyrone Smith is dedicated to developing ways to change the problems at the heart of our communities. It begins by building each individual to see the greatness inside of his or herself.  By helping others to unlock their own possibilities, it creates better capabilities for our world as a whole.
The Athlete
Tyrone Smith knows what it takes to become a champion.  During his time at Baylor University as starting Cornerback for one of the highest ranking teams in the nation, Tyrone’s hard work ethic and positive attitude was an inspiration to his coaches and teammates. His fellow players chose him as the team captain because of his ability to motivate them towards success.  He went on to play professional football for the San Francisco 49ers, where he continued to contribute to making a positive impact not only on his teammates but also on his community.  While working with the 49ers on community outreach programs, he found a love for helping others develop the attitude of a champion. Tyrone would not allow a career ending injury to deter him from his dreams of making a difference.  After a four year football career with the N.F.L., Tyrone Smith now dedicates his life to helping others learn what it takes to become champions at living.
The Speaker
Energetic, funny, dynamic, engaging, and charismatic are all terms that have been used when describing Tyrone Smith.  He blends all of these traits effortlessly as he shares from his own personal experiences, while giving valuable insights on how to overcome adversity to define your own definition of success. His passionate message yet down to earth style is able to reach a multitude of different personalities, and can relate to anyone who has ever wanted to reach for a dream.
The Motivator
Tyrone Smith uses his life experiences to teach that everyone has the ability to reach their fullest potential and create their own success.  He encourages others not to wait for an opportunity to present itself, but to make opportunities happen. With his extraordinary, encouraging spirit he inspires others to persevere through life’s challenges and to never sell short their own talents and abilities.  Whether the focus is building winning teams or developing individual success, his message of striving for nothing short of excellence is universal.
Until the age of nine, Tyrone lived in the Third Ward of Houston, Texas.  Third Ward has always carried a reputation for being a rough neighborhood, where the negative influences of drugs and street violence are always prevalent.  Tyrone avoided the traps and pitfalls of such an environment by using sports as an outlet.  His family later moved to Missouri City, Texas where he attended Willowridge High School.
Knowing that he needed to utilize every positive resource in his life in order to succeed, Tyrone’s primary focus became his education and football. Tyrone continued his education at Baylor University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Social Work. When Tyrone graduated from Baylor University, he went on to become a free agent for the National Football League (N.F.L.). During a workout with the San Francisco 49ers, he impressed the organization with his positive attitude, tenacity, and his “Always Work Hard” mentality.  He signed with the San Francisco 49ers in 1996, and played with the San Francisco 49ers organization for three seasons.

Click here for Tyrone’s website and for more information on his book

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Why You Should Wake Up at 5 A.M. Every Day

Even if you're not an early riser, changing your routine could improve your productivity.
By The Muse

I used to wake up before dawn. My roommate and I would stumble down the streets of NYC at five in the morning and talk about anything and everything our brains could handle. (As for why we decided to wake up at dawn, it was because our third roommate didn't think we could do it. Our competitive side kicked in and we wanted to prove him wrong.)

It was a beautiful sight, too: We'd watch the sun rise, the shopkeepers roll up their steel gates, and if we were lucky, we'd catch those sneaky guys who change out subway posters when no one's looking. We'd see the world wake up, right in front of us.

Sounds magical, huh?

Well, before you get too impressed, know that this lasted all of three weeks. But I never forgot just how empowering it felt to be awake before the rest of the world had even wiped the sleep from their eyes.

I knew I owed it to myself to try again. So, I set one resolution this year: Every morning, I will wake up at 5 AM. Period. Quitting is not an option.

Two months in, it's already changed my productivity in ways I never expected.

You Feel Like You're Winning, Just by Waking Up

For a while, I tried and failed--sometimes spectacularly--to wake up early: Those 5 AM mornings of bliss were just one of many well-intentioned experiments that usually ended with me hitting the snooze button.

But you know what? I'm glad for those failures. If anything, it makes every morning I do wake up right on schedule feel like a big win. And when you win the morning, says Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Richyou win the day.

Now, I can say I wake up even before notorious early risers like Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, and Mark Zuckerberg. It's a wonderful feeling to kick off the morning: Some people drink coffee or watch baby videos to get pumped--but just by waking up, I know I'm taking control of my day. Just by waking up, I know I've done something right.

You Get to Set Your Own Priorities

The average US individual wakes up between 6:00 and 7:30 AM, which means when I'm up at 5 AM, I have a good one to two hours before my phone starts buzzing. There are no urgent emails, no calls, no fires to put out just yet. The only question I have to ask myself is, "What do I feel like doing this morning?"

Usually, that means putting on my favorite Spotify playlist, maybe spending a few minutes journaling or reading a book, and then heading out to the gym.

This is the definition of luxury: With a two-hour head start on the rest of the country, I get to decide what's important to me--instead of rolling out of bed, straight into a hailstorm of to-dos. Because my mornings are, well, mine, I'm able to devote them to the quiet, meditative activities I love.

And better yet, by the time I arrive at work, I'm calmer, happier, and in a better headspace for the day ahead.

You're Building Discipline for Everything Else

When I'm lying in bed, covers up to my chin, and the alarm is going off, waking up is the hardest thing in the world. But I'm tired, says that sleepy little voice in my head. What difference would five more minutes make?

Building discipline is like building muscle: For example, every time I work on my side plank, despite the burn, I strengthen my obliques. Similarly, every time I force myself out of bed, I strengthen my discipline--not just for the next morning, but for life. These days, for instance, I'm better able to focus on a single task. I'm keeping habits I never could before. Most importantly, I'm building confidence in my own willpower: Once I get out of bed, I know I can tackle everything else that comes my way.

I'll be the first to admit that some of us are just hardwired, died-in-the-wool night owls. If you're one of them, keep on rocking into the wee hours. But if part of you knows you haven't found your stride yet, waking up early might just be the change you need to hit peak productivity.

And early doesn't have to mean 5 AM--t just means earlier than you do now. Of course, you can't make that change overnight. Instead, you have to build in a few habits to help you get there.
  1. Start intentionally winding down earlier than you usually do--that means avoiding all tech two hours before you want to fall asleep.
  2. Create a bedtime routine.
  3. Find a way to fall asleep faster--it can include deep breathing, visualization (such as running through the first three things you'll do in the morning), or even an app designed to make you tired.
  4. Get an alarm clock that forces you out of bed.
Yes, getting up early is hard. But I promise when you develop the habit, knowing you've won, taken back your morning, and built discipline for life, it'll feel like a high-five from the universe.

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5 Daily Habits of the Brightest and Happiest People

It comes down to what you can and cannot control

By Marcel Schwantes
Principal and founder, Leadership From the Core

Every day we are faced with decisions that are out of our control. Next time you miss that important appointment because the Uber driver got lost, or your grumpy boss is throwing a hissy-fit, remember to chalk it up to chance. You're not responsible.

Here's what you are responsible for, and what you can control: how you respond to your environment and the people in it. This means making some wise choices.

Smart and generally happy people experience greater success because they make those good choices every day, no matter what curve balls life throws their way.

As Tony Robbins says so eloquently, "Your life changes the moment you make a new, congruent, and committed decision."

If you're itching to get going on that premise and start exercising good decisions daily, you won't regret it. Begin by incorporating these into your daily routine, and watch what happens...

Choose to leave the past in the past.

So you had a terrible "yesterday." We all do. But if you're still obsessing today (or a week afterwards) over a bad decision or something that went terribly wrong, you're choosing the wrong mental path.
Shark Tank mogul Barbara Corcoran has something to say about this. She says, "The difference between successful people and others is how long they spend time feeling sorry for themselves."
Accept that failures are part of the learning process as an entrepreneur, learn from them, remember the lessons, put it in the past and move on. That's what successful people do.

Choose to surround yourself with positive people.

As I've written in the past, gossip is one of the most toxic things that can happen to destroy workplace morale, bar none. If you really want to stop being around gossip, put limits on those who do it. Turn down lunch invitations from toxic peers, and walk away from parking lot conversations that go south.

Then seek work relationships with positive people. You'll know them after a while; they're the ones who go on about their business and never get sucked into negativity.

While negative peers are complaining and campaigning with gossip, positive peers are thinking ahead about how to improve a bad situation, taking accountability for their actions, and moving toward contributing to solutions to organizational problems.

Choose to live in peace.

This means peace with others, your current situation, and the path you're on. My path was a vision, then a business concept, trial and error, investor pitches, trial and error, a startup launch, advice from mentors and sages, more trial and error, and an internal compass that said "this is the path," even if it meant Raisin Bran and Top Ramen for dinner.

Choosing peace allows you to stick to the plan even when the skeptics say you're crazy. Peace blocks distractions that try to derail you from the plan.

Peace means minding your own business, not comparing yourself with others, and being grateful every day for the place you find yourself.

Choose to live happy.

The choice to be happy has long-term psychological benefits. Brain research by Dr. Wataru Sato of Kyoto University says that when you choose positive behaviors (like meditation or forgiveness), you hold the key to rewiring a region of the brain called the precuneus.

By changing your daily habits, you'll be able to control your sense of well-being, purpose, and happiness. I think that's brilliant.

So if you're caught in a vicious circle of nasty emotions like doubt, fear, and uncertainty, replace those emotions by consciously and intentionally choosing happiness, joy, and hope.

Use the tools of meditation, prayer, journaling, and mindfulness to aid you in the process. Check in with close friends and family after two weeks and ask if they have noticed a difference. I would wager a small bet that they have.

Choose to respond instead of react.

We often react when triggered by negative events in the past that cause us to get defensive or act out in fear. Once we get a handle on the root cause of our negative reactions, we can respond with confidence and self-control.

By modeling appropriate and effective communication, you set the example for others to follow as a cultural trait. Remember, when triggered to react, reflect on what's pushing your buttons (the root cause), and choose a "keep calm" approach as you process your emotions for a more tactful response.

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Check out the new Trust website!

Click the image below.
I Am The Trust
Listen to former players who have used our services talk about their experiences with our partners and programs.
Duration: 3:58

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To learn more about the many transition offerings of The Trust, visit their website by clicking here.

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We are "One Team", built around a fraternity of former NFL Players who are aligned, connected and engaged, working together in life beyond football.

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Nolan Harrison III, MBA
Senior Director
Dee Becker
Assistant Director
Lorenzo Kaufman
Senior Manager
Amber C.Edwards
Membership Services Coordinator
Garrett Wooddell

NFLPA National Office

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Please update your contact information  to earn your free lifetime membership and to learn more about what the Former Player Services Department offers our players. Renew your membership online through your profile page on or with the Membership Application

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who has fought for, and will continue to fight for, our rare and special fraternity. You can also call Membership Services at 202-756-9165 if you have any membership or internet questions.

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NFL Get Help Hotline
Health, Career, Education and Lifestyle Programs for Former Players
Bahati VanPelt | Executive Director

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Available to answer player benefits and insurance questions.

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Bethany Marshall | Director
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Adora Williams | Sr. Manager
Brian Francis | Coordinator

Professional Athletes Foundation

Gene Upshaw Players Assistance Trust (PAT)
Helping players  in need.

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Andre Collins | Executive Director
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Joint replacement, discount prescription card, assisted living and more.
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Click HERE for more information on Off The Field Players' Wives Association
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the finest American-made luggage on the planet. Chosen by over 90% of PGA Tour players. Limited lifetime warranty.
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Transition Resources

Featured Partners

The YMCA believes in strengthening individuals and communities. With a presence in 10,000 neighborhoods across the country, the Y has the reach and ability to help you transition to life off the playing field.

All former players are eligible with an NFLPA Former Player Membership. (Former players with 2+ credited seasons are eligible through The Trust.)

To access the free YMCA membership, email the YMCA name and City, State to 

Health Partners

Video: Football Players Health Study at Harvard University
Partnering with Former Players: A Collaboration

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Former players can sign up to receive a questionnaire by clicking here.

Business Mentoring

With over 13,000 volunteers in 347 chapters, SCORE has the expertise you need to succeed.

Use the Chapter Locator to find a SCORE office near you and request a free face to face mentoring meeting.


The NFLPA has partnered with Penn State World Campus to support the educational needs of NFLPA members. The World Campus offers more than 100 accredited graduate degrees, undergraduate degrees, certificates, and minors.

Penn State ranked as the No. 1 institution in the nation for producing the best-prepared, most well-rounded graduates who are most able to succeed once hired, according to a survey by The Wall Street Journal.

Penn State World Campus offers NFLPA members a tuition reduction benefit for all degree and certificate programs. Learn more about how you can receive a top-quality education, completed at your convenience, from one of the world’s most renowned universities. 

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Nolan Harrison III, MBA
Senior Director, Former Player Services
NFL Player 1991 - 2000
Twitter: @nolanharrison74

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