Eddie George, who played the majority of his career with one team that had three names (the Houston Oilers, Tennessee Oilers, and finally the Tennessee Titans) is a four-time Pro Bowl, one-time All Pro, Heisman Trophy-winning running back who has been elected into the College Football Hall of Fame for his outstanding play as a Buckeye. He stands at 24th overall on the career rushing yards list and is a member of the 10,000 Yards Club. George has seen plenty of success in his career, including a Super Bowl appearance in 2000, so he was a well-respected presence at the Rookie Premiere.
George, who is also a former Offensive Rookie of the Year shared some of his thoughts with rookies recently.
His most emphasized piece of advice for the NFL’s newest members? To plan ahead. “I’ve spoken to them about having a transition plan after the game,” George said. “It’s hard to see it on the front end [because] you hopefully have a long prosperous career and play 10 or 12 years but [the end] comes so fast so I try and tell them to prepare as if you’re not going be playing tomorrow.”
George couldn’t stress that point enough. Too many NFL players, even those with large salaries, have mishandled their financial situations and spent money haphazardly only to be left in a hole too large to dig themselves out of come retirement. A recent example is Mark Brunell, who saw several failed business ventures bankrupt him even as his playing career continued as a member of the New York Jets. Brunell has not officially retired but is reportedly working as an entry-level medical sales representative in order to make some money.
“I still think it has to be a message that’s hammered home time and time again, repetition,” said George. “It’s not going to be in one sitting that you’re going to tell this guys what to expect and they’re going to get it. So what I’m trying to convey to them is that I’m not here to prevent you from making mistakes. You’re going to make mistakes. But what I’m here to do is to show you the blueprint of how to navigate through that. You are going to have setbacks, and some failure, and some tough times and adversity, but here’s how you navigate through that.”
Since his retirement prior to the 2005 season, George has partaken in various business ventures and commentating/analysis appearances. He controls George Enterprises, which includes EGX Lifestyle, “which concentrates on creating solutions for transforming lives through mind, body and spirit” according to his website. He also founded EDGE, a planning and design firm that works to create sustainable communities around the United States. These two companies combined help form George’s vision of “healthy people and healthy places.”
Interview by Melissa Mahler follow her on twitter @melissa_PPI