Business Section

City Career Firm to Assist Ex-NFL Players

Unless he takes the plunge himself, there comes a time in every professional athlete’s career when he is called to the head coach’s office for that heartbreaking kiss-off.

“You’ve been a great asset to the team, but we’ve decided to make some changes,” the coach might say.

Maybe this athlete has been in the big time only a year. Maybe he’s a 10-year veteran.

Maybe he’s picked up by another team. Maybe he goes down to the minor leagues, to Canada, or across the Atlantic. Maybe he can make a comeback.

But eventually, inevitably, the athlete’s career is over, the glory is gone, and he faces a long future on the outside, looking in.

“Career and Life transitioning for any individual who comes out of the sports arena is very, very, difficult,” said Rick R. Hollis.

Hollis’s firm recently was chosen as the third of four current career-consulting firms across the nation licensed to do work with former player members of the National Football League Players Association who were once in the big time, but are no more.

Hollis said, a former player told him, “My life since I’ve been cut has been a disaster,”

“We’re hoping, within the next year or so, the NFLPA will pick those fees up. Their agents will negotiate that for the player when they sign up,” Hollis said.

After a year or so, “When we do a fine job for the NFLPA, then the NFLPA will reward us,” he said.

In addition to ex-football players, Hollis said his firm deals with clients ranging from three presidents of international corporations, to a set of parents who brought in their recent college graduate offspring to attempt to “get a return on their investment” in his education.

Hollis said the players’ association is particular about the kind of consulting – not counseling – it wants for its clients who have been cut from the professional sports roster.

“The NFLPA just does not want the counseling theories – “This is how you write a better resume; come on in and let’s talk about your hard luck; go to the library and do all this research; and let us know how you’re doing,” Hollis said.

“We’re not a regular outplacement company where we sit them down and teach how to write a resume and say, ‘Bye,’” Hollis said.

“We leave the psychological aspect of career counseling to counselors … dealing with the devastation of what’s happening to them.

"I really don’t believe in getting into that. These people need one thing: a new career and life protection. The emotion is there, the trauma’s there, but let’s get on with it. Let’s get on down the road."

"We’re not here to hold their hand; we’re here to say, ‘Look, this is what you’ve got to do,’” Hollis said. Hollis said football has consumed the lives and time of his new sports clients “going all the way back through high school, and beyond."

"When they’ve been cut from the roster, our job will be to basically consult them through a new life, career move, broaden their options, write their marketing plan – the entire career campaign.

How do we really get this former NFL player into the private sector, and where can his talents best be used, with a strategic marketing plan and the research that goes along with it, so that a successful life can be begin?”

Hollis said some former NFL players struggle for a decade to find a niche.

Their union is trying to shorten that time considerably, Hollis said.

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