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Reggie Stephens

Trust Spotlights

Reggie Stephens

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Reggie Stephens is a former CB who played four seasons in the NFL. In retirement, Stephens went back to school, started a foundation and pursued his passion for music.

Q
As you were contemplating your retirement, what were some of the thoughts going through your head?
A

It was definitely hard, but I was able to transition and change because I was also into music and things of that nature. I felt like I had something that I could fall back on, which kept me motivated and pushed me in a different direction. So when I left football, I had another passion to go do - it just helped the transition. But that was tough for me.

I felt like I had something that I could either fall back on, which kept me motivated and pushed me in a different direction.

I felt like I had something that I could either fall back on, which kept me motivated and pushed me in a different direction.

Q
You mentioned that music helped with your transition, can you elaborate on that?
A

Once I got done with the Giants, I ended up playing two years in the Arena Football League with the Nashville Kats. The main reason I went to Nashville was because Tim McGraw was a minority owner of the team at the time. I ended up going there and he turned me on to another producer named David Huff.

In 2007, I moved to Los Angeles and Huff signed me to a record deal. So I literally went from football to working in the studio and working on an album, which took my mind off football. But I think if I would have just retired and then sat around for a while, I probably would've been a little bit depressed. But I was able to go into something else that I love, which was music.

Q
What do you do in the music industry?
A

I’m a producer. One of the biggest things that I have recently done is gain sample clearance to a Bon Jovi song called 'You Give Love a Bad Name'. I actually met Bon Jovi when I was with the Giants. He would just walk in the locker room. It was the trippiest thing ever.

David Huff's brother Dan played for Bon Jovi - so we just had something in common, which we turned into a situation where I was able to get that clearance. We recently just redid the song. At some point we're going to release the song and try to get it out. But that's literally what I've been doing lately is producing, getting music placed in film and television for independent artists.

Q
What kind of work do you do in the community and outside of music?
A

I run my nonprofit called the Reggie Stephens Foundation, which has about 47 kids in the program for AAU basketball. I also create all-star games and give out scholarships for kids in my area in Santa Cruz. I've been helping kids train. I never charge a kid to train them, whether they're trying to go to college or transitioning from eighth grade to high school. I've always found a way to give everything I have to them. Because when I came up, there were a couple of people that gave me opportunities. I always preach to the kids that you never know who’s watching you, so don’t burn bridges.

Additionally, I went back to school — I promised my mom, son and daughter that I would finish. I didn't want to be the person who has this foundation and I'm telling kids, 'you need to go to school, you need to do this and this' but not walking the walk. So that encouraged me as well to go back and finish.

Since I graduated, my confidence has gone through the roof, and it has just been amazing. My son goes to Pepperdine, my daughter is a sophomore in high school. To see how hard they work on education, it definitely uplifted me and gave me inspiration.

Q
How do you juggle your foundation, music and other passions?
A

I’ll be realistic, what keeps me happy and what keeps me from going into any type of depression is when I'm out helping people, doing the best I can for myself and following my dreams and passions. That's what keeps me happy.

You've got to find things that you love, and put your time and your efforts into that.

You've got to find things that you love, and put your time and your efforts into that — because I do know that when it's done for football players, it's not an easy transition. But for me, these are the things that help me wake up every day happy and ready to go and tackle whatever's going on.

The way I've learned to balance it is there's seasons. There's a football season, where I'm in more of a work-mode. And when that's over, I jump into AAU, and that runs all the way into summer. And then the music part of it, I just kind of do that three days a week. I go to the studio if I feel like I need to write music, then I'll go there and I'll get it done. And I have a team that helps me with that as well. So it's not just me.

Q
What brought you to The Trust in the first place?
A

At first, I knew nothing about The Trust, but I had a teammate of mine who told me about the Brain and Body Assessment. That's where it started — It was one of my players looking out for me, and I always looked out for him. We've been taking care of each other ever since we've retired, so if there's something going on, I'll tell him and vice versa.

I've taken advantage of The Trust's Scholarship Award Benefit and worked with AthLife, that was amazing too. That wasn't easy for me, being out like 19 years and then going back to school. But at the same time, I look at how smart I am because I've been able to do a lot of things without a degree. But, the degree is like having that little check mark by your name.

The Trust Scholarship allowed me to use my social media to the other kids that follow the Reggie Stephens Foundation that I prioritize education even though I'm in my forties. I walk the walk, and I’m trying to set an example. So The Trust allowed me to do that, to help me move forward in my foundation.

Q
In a few sentences, what has The Trust done for you?
A

The Trust has been able to clear my conscience, give me confidence and change my perspective on the NFL. Once the game is done, they actually do care about you.

The Trust is here to support you.
Ready to learn how?

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