Kevin Bentley

Trust Spotlights

Kevin Bentley


Kevin Bentley is a former NFL linebacker who spent ten years in the league. A passionate teammate and a leader of men, Bentley used his football experience to evolve as a player and become a lifelong learner.

Born in Los Angeles, California, Kevin Bentley grew up a multi-sport athlete, playing football, basketball, and running track. Unlike most kids, Bentley did not dream of being in the NFL but instead dreamt of becoming a CEO. However, he soon found his feet on the gridiron, playing college ball for Northwestern University in hopes of earning his degree and go straight into the business world.

Bentley enjoyed a successful college career in Illinois—including a breakout sophomore season—before getting drafted by the Cleveland Browns. He found the transition to the NFL a bit challenging at first, but he quickly adapted to the speed and intensity of the league. Growing up in a military household taught Bentley the value of discipline, and he used that mindset to become a leader of men.

Just being on that routine schedule for so long, it just was ingrained in you... You just wake up and know what to do. I would not trade it for the world.

Bentley originally planned for a short stint in the league to focus on his MBA. However, what followed next was ten years in the NFL, which saw him earn Rookie of the Year honors with the Browns, enjoyed a Super Bowl run with the Seahawks, and named team captain by his peers in Houston. He then spent his last season mentoring young linebackers before retiring in 2011.

After retiring, Bentley took a year off, went on a three-month-long snowboarding trip in New Zealand, and connected with the local community. His ability to form connections became an integral part of his time in graduate school.

Bentley was “the master networker” in grad school. His leadership skills, mixed with the ability to thrive in a team setting served him well, and he eventually graduated with multiple master’s degrees and certificates. His standout soft skill—being a lifelong learner—was crucial to his success in the corporate world.

It was just an awesome experience, the relationships you build, the camaraderie, the soft skills that are transferable to any industry. And then the leadership skills are a big plus.

Since enrolling with The Trust, Bentley has extensively used the resources available to qualify for scholarships. Whether he’s moving up the corporate ladder or pursuing outside ventures, The Trust has played an instrumental part in getting him the funding he needs to succeed as a professional.

Today, Bentley is pursuing a doctorate in organizational leadership to fulfill a childhood dream of being a CEO. He encourages former players to build networks and tap into the resources available to help them achieve their goals.

I always thought I was going to be a CEO, three-piece suit, corner office type guy. And so, I've never let go of that dream. The Trust provided me with ample opportunities to get the education and certifications that I needed.

Change is an inevitable part of life. Bentley hopes his story can inspire others to look at change as an opportunity for growth instead of disruption.

I would love for every former player to start thinking about how they can leverage The Trust because there are lots of great things going on that can help us.

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