At the time, I felt I had a lot left to play, but we were having trouble getting calls to team workouts. I was kind of sitting at home, working out and hoping I’d get a call — but it never really came. As I was working on the ranch, I found out that that was where my heart was leading me. I called my agent, told him that I was done and moved on to the next step.
Bear Pascoe is a former TE who played seven seasons in the NFL. In retirement, Pascoe returned to his Western-lifestyle roots and now competes professionally in rodeo.
“ As I was working on the ranch, I found out that that was where my heart was leading me. I called my agent, told him that I was done and moved on to the next step. ”
When I was playing, I had always heard about guys retiring and not knowing what to really do. But I naturally thought, “that won’t be me. That won’t be me”. I thought I could retire and dive right back into the rodeo without any lag time. But it was a bit of an adjustment and turned out to be an eye-opening experience.
A lot of working here at the ranch. I’d started here very young, so it was exciting. In 2017, I was fortunate to get my PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) permit and qualify for the tournament finals to go and compete.
It was a lot of fun. You know, this is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I was a little kid and I’m getting to live it out. It’s had its dark times, its ups and downs and its peaks and valleys – but my football career was like that too, so I’m used to it.
I grew up in the Western lifestyle. When I was a kid in elementary school and in high school, I’d wake up early around 5:00-5:30 in the morning to bottle feed calves before I went to school. So, the Western lifestyle has always been a part of my life, even when I was living in New York. It was something I held on to the whole time I was in the NFL.
“ It’s had its dark times, its ups and downs and its peaks and valleys – but my football career was like that too, so I’m used to it. ”
It was great to get back to something that I really love. My wife rodeos as well, so we get to do it together. Outside of the of the rodeo world, I’m now 30 minutes away from my brother, so I’m able to help him on a pretty consistent basis. It’s all stuff that I get to enjoy with family and that makes it extra special.
For the whole steer wrestling experience, it’s not like you jump on a horse, run out and fall off of him. There’s a lot of techniques. I started 2015 doing something called chute dogging, where you catch them out of the chute and run along next to him and just learn to develop your ground game technique.
It’s funny, I never threw up at a football practice all through high school, college or the pros. Not once, and I’ve been through some brutal workouts. But I remember one of my first times chute dogging and thinking I was going to puke. I remember my dad saying, 'You’re a big time athlete in shape and ready to go (for the NFL), but you’re not in steer wrestling shape.'
It was great and eye-opening to see all the benefits and all of the different programs and stuff that are available to us (football players). In fact, there’s a few services and benefits that I didn’t even know about. There's some really good people to talk and connect with too, so it was great. The whole process was absolutely worth it and I hope more guys take advantage of it.
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