Years of overcoming obstacles and doubt finally paid off in 2001 when he was signed by the San Francisco 49ers as a free agent. To this day, Cheek still recalls the signing of his first contract as one of the highlights of his entire career; “For me, it was a grind,” he said, “getting that first contract, and seeing my name under it, was very cool.” He went on to play over a span of five seasons for the Eagles, Giants, Texans, Chiefs, and Panthers. Additionally, he had the opportunity to play abroad through NFL Europe, playing in Cologne and Berlin, Germany.
Cheek’s NFL career came to an end after suffering a major injury, a challenging situation that many Former Players can relate to. “It was difficult because I didn’t make the decision, the decision was made for me.” Cheek said the most astounding part of transitioning out of the League was how many years of blood, sweat, and tears went into playing professionally versus how quickly it all came to an end.
In the first few years following his retirement from the League, Cheek decided to “bounce around” to different locations and careers in an effort to find his next passion. He spent time volunteering at local high schools as a football coach before moving to the South of France to continue his coaching career, eventually becoming the head coach of the Argonautes of Aix-en-Provence. On his return to the U.S., he ventured into careers in the corporate world and even ended up attending culinary school.