Whether coaching or doing television work, there is a certain way that people expect NFL players to continue their careers in football after they retire. After all, NFL broadcasts and sidelines are filled with people who made these same transitions.
However, some NFL players decide to go somewhere entirely different. They instead choose to use their earnings and fame to pursue entirely different careers across entertainment, other sports, or the private sector.
Tim Tebow plays baseball
Tim Tebow has become something of a cult figure in football. Despite a short NFL career, his status as a college superstar meant that he garnered attention even as he rode the bench.
While he has dabbled in television work and entertainment, Tebow has been playing minor league baseball for the New York Mets’ farm system since 2016 with hopes that maybe he can one day get the call up from the Mets, themselves.
Ty Law trampolines
After a 15-year NFL career in which he amassed three Super Bowls and made a name intercepting the other team’s passes, Ty Law made a fascinating career decision and pivoted to trampoline park owner.
He started Launch Trampoline Park in New England, but according to the company’s website, the franchise has expanded to 35 locations across 12 different stations.
Drew Bledsoe makes wine
Drew Bledsoe may have been an all-star quarterback during his playing days, but he isn’t using that to be the next Tony Romo or Peyton Manning in the broadcast booth.
Instead, Bledsoe set his sights to the wine world, launching Doubleback Winery in 2007 almost immediately after he retired from the NFL. In 2019, the winery is thriving, and some of his wines have even been named to Wine Enthusiast‘s top 100-list.
A.J. Francis wrestles
AJ Francis is only 28 years old and out of the NFL. But a return to the field isn’t his priority right now. After moving between practice squads and NFL rosters for several years, Francis has his eyes set on professional wrestling.
He trains at the Team 3D Academy, a gym owned by WWE Hall of Famers, the Dudley Boyz, and he hopes to make it onto a roster. It isn’t an insane goal, either. Several WWE Superstars, including The Rock, got started on the football field.
Brett Favre sold steaks
Brett Favre is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. However, after 20 years in the NFL, he spent more time trying to make a name as an entrepreneur.
Favre opened Brett Favre’s Steakhouse in 1998 when he was still in the prime of his playing career. Recently, the restaurant rebranded as Hall of Fame Chophouse. It expanded its menu to include more steaks and seafood dishes in the process. Unfortunately, the rebrand didn’t work, and the restaurant closed in 2018. Others have had more success.
Mike Ditka sells steaks, too
Ditka made a career for himself as both an NFL player and a coach and is best known as the coach for the legendary 1985 Chicago Bears Super Bowl team.
While he goes on television from time to time, however, much of his off-the-field career revolves around Ditka’s, his popular upscale bar and restaurant. The walls of Ditka’s three locations are filled with memorabilia and they have become quite well-known for fans of football.
Greg Hardy fights
After a promising career was marred with off-the-field antics, including an infamous domestic violence case, Greg Hardy found himself in involuntary retirement.
Hardy decided to switch sports and become a mixed martial arts fighter. Eventually, his switch paid off, and Dana White added him to the roster at the UFC.