Jake Plummer always did things his own way. That’s why when he retired after the 2006 season, just a year removed from making the only Pro Bowl in his 10-year career with the Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos, it came as a surprise to many, but not to those who knew him best.
Since his retirement, Plummer has, as you might expect, done his own thing and been involved in a variety of different projects. From launching a technology startup, to raising a family, and advocating for medical marijuana with the NFL, Plummer hasn’t slowed down much since his playing days. Where is Jake “The Snake” Plummer today?
Jake Plummer’s career highlights
The Arizona Cardinals drafted the hometown hero Jake Plummer out of Arizona State University in the second round of the 1997 NFL draft. He was the third-string quarterback to start his rookie season. Late in the seventh game of the season, Plummer took his first NFL snap. He guided the team on a 98-yard touchdown drive for the go-ahead score. They lost in overtime.
That season Plummer led the Cardinals to three out of their four wins. His status as a star at ASU only elevated with his success at Arizona. Despite leading the Cardinals to their first playoff victory in 51 years during the 1998 season, he never attained a consistent high-level of success in the desert. In 2003, Plummer signed on with the Denver Broncos as a free agent.
In Denver, Plummer was considerably more successful. His first two seasons in the Mile High City, he led the Broncos to berths in the playoffs. His third season, Plummer had the best season of his career leading Denver to a 13-3 season and the playoffs, where they lost in the AFC Championship to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers. He earned a trip to the Pro Bowl.
During the 2006 season, despite leading the Broncos to a 7-4 record, he was benched in favor of rookie Jay Cutler. Jake Plummer appeared temporarily in the final game of the season when Cutler was injured. He retired after the season.
His special friendship with Pat Tillman
Jake Plummer and Pat Tillman became friends while playing at ASU. That bond grew even stronger when the two paired up with the Cardinals. Despite playing on opposite sides of the ball, the two were similar. Both avoided the spotlight, grew up in households with two brothers, had no problem questioning authority, and treated teammates like family.
The two regularly hung out together in the off-seasons. That all changed in 2002 when Tillman quit football to join the Army. After Tillman’s first stint in Afghanistan, he returned to the U.S. on leave and the pair hung out together when they could drinking beer and solving the world’s problems.
When Tillman tragically died in 2004, Plummer grew an untrimmed, full beard and had long hair in honor of his fallen friend. Plummer delivered the eulogy at Tillman’s funeral wearing a suit and flip-flops, Tillman-style.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Jake Plummer said he definitely misses his friend, but is grateful for the time they had together.
“When you find someone like that and you meet somebody like that, you just count your blessings to have had them in your life for whatever period of time that is. He keeps me motivated. I just feel lucky to have known him and been a teammate of his both with the Sun Devils and the Cardinals.”
Where is Jake “The Snake” Plummer today?
Since Jake Plummer shocked the NFL by retiring still in the prime of his career, he doesn’t have a single regret. In fact, in hindsight, he’s glad he retired when he did and has even questioned why he ever played the game. That’s after having surgery on both hips and dealing with pain for years.
In search of a way to cope with the pain, he discovered medical marijuana. He’s been an advocate for it ever since. He has been a spokesperson for CW Botanicals, a company that manufactures CBD products. In 2016, Plummer signed a letter addressed to the NFL, urging a change in the league’s policy toward cannabis.
Plummer may have left the game, but he stayed connected to it in other ways. He served a short time as an analyst for the Pac-12. In recent years, he co-founded ReadyList Sports, a company that designed a product that digitizes football playbooks and makes them interactive. He’s in charge of thinking ahead for the company and building a network of potential clients. He brought Mike Shanahan on to the board of advisors.
Plummer, who lives in Colorado, works with the business and is father to his three kids. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2019. In April of that same year, he was the starter for the 15th annual Pat’s Run, a race honoring his former teammate/soldier with the benefits going to Tillman’s foundation.
Jake Plummer’s football career has long been over, and he’s found peace and enjoyment doing a variety of things he is passionate about. He’s living life just like he’s always done—his own way.