During his 17 years in the league, Steve Beuerlein helped the Dallas Cowboys to a Super Bowl XXVII victory and was selected to the 1999 Pro Bowl while with the Carolina Panthers. The quarterback set almost every passing record with the Panthers during his six seasons with the club, most of which still stand today. He also spent four seasons as a player representative while in Carolina, an experience he reflects on with us.
Q: What is your current career?
A: The two primary things I’m focused on are I’ve been doing color commentary for the NFL and CBS – this will be my 14th or 15th year doing it. I am also a commercial insurance broker with Marsh, we’re the largest commercial insurance broker in the world.
Q: How would you describe your experience leaving the game?
A: I think initially, I would say it went very smoothly. I played 17 years, and I really felt like it was time to walk away. I think I could have gotten another year or two if I really wanted to push it, but I think I was ready at the time. I had a lot of injury problems the last few years, my kids were starting to grow up, and I just felt like it was time. So I was very content with that, but it got a little bit tougher as time went by. There were some issues that developed around the time of the recession – I bought a business in North Carolina, but the timing was really bad and I ended up selling it. This was around the time I started my insurance career, and fortunately I had the opportunity to get into [the insurance business] and I’ve been doing it ever since.
Q: What was the impact of the player reps during your time on the board?
A: Well my rookie year was during the strike of ’87, so I got to taste firsthand what the fight was all about. When I was a rookie I had no money, and all of a sudden, we’re on strike and not getting paid. So the reality of the business side hit me very quickly, and you learn who’s on your side. As I got more experienced and [became] a player rep, we were fighting for free agency. The impact was significant, and I was the main plaintiff on one of the free agency lawsuits. The teams during those years, the players were very united, it was a much different world than it is today. The things that we fought for have given these players today an incredible life; the benefits that they have are superior to what we had. The legacy that we left for the current players is a pretty good situation, and we’re proud of that.
Q: How has your experience as a player rep benefited you today?
A: I think the player rep role naturally lends itself to being a leader and focusing on the pertinent issues that face our contemporaries and teammates. It really prepares a football player to look at the world a little differently and try and understand how all these different decisions that are made [are very significant]. A lot of times as a football player, you kind of lose touch with the real world. I think it helped me to look at the bigger picture and start to understand that football’s not going to last forever, and you do have to start thinking about your future. I do believe it got my business wheels spinning.
Q: Are you still close with any player reps today?
A: I still keep in touch with several guys that were player reps. Tim Brown is still a very good friend of mine, we went to Notre Dame together and we played for the Raiders together. He got pretty involved with the Player’s Association. Bill Bates is a guy who was active in the PA as well and a player rep in Dallas. Those are two guys that I’ve maintained relationships with over the years. But it’s hard, you get older and your kids grow up and your priorities change. Several teams have really active alumni groups, and that’s a good way to reconnect every year. I’m going to my Raiders reunion [soon], so I’m looking forward to that.
Q: What was your favorite player rep meeting site?
A: We always went to the Grand Wailea in Hawaii – that was the vacation we looked forward to. It was a productive week, and a very fun week. You felt like you were in a position to really impact the future for the players. Not only was it a first-class event, but you came out of it feeling like it was time well spent.
Q: What advice would you give the current players today?
A: If there’s a message I would send these players, it would be number one – don’t take anything for granted. Appreciate the privilege you have as being an NFL player, because it is a privilege. There’s a lot of great athletes that for whatever reason never got the opportunity the current players have. So appreciate the fact that you have that opportunity and take advantage of it. Secondly, I have a very strong passion for making a difference. I have a dream of being able to implement a program into [the players’] lives that focuses on decision making and understanding that every decision is so crucial from the time you wake up in the morning to the time you go to bed, to the people you hang out with and what you do with your free time. Every decision is significant, and I think players need to be conditioned to think that way and how to be accountable for their teammates and their organization.
Q: You mentioned that you have kids, how old are they and are they interested in sports?
A: My oldest is Taylor, he’s 20. My daughter Kailey, she’s 18, just graduated high school and is going to University of Colorado Boulder. My third is Jacob, he is a senior in high school. My fourth is Kendall, she is 11. [Taylor] loves the ocean and loves skiing and all that. Kailey rode horses for a while, and she’s a talented singer. Jacob is a very good athlete, he’s focused on soccer. My youngest is a very good athlete – she plays basketball, soccer, does karate, and loves to surf and snowboard. She just gets after everything, she’s a stud.
Q: How has the leadership position of being a player rep helped you be a father?
A: I think all of your experiences over the course of your life have an effect on your development as a father. I think it’s a conscious decision that a person has to make, to make it a priority to be a good father. As a player rep, you think unselfishly and not about what’s best for you but what’s best for everybody. As a father, if your priority is on yourself, you’re not going to be a [strong] dad. I think it definitely helps because it makes you take all factors into consideration and think about others before yourself. I believe that’s one of the most important qualities of being a dad – putting your family first.
Tags Former Players