My thoughts were — what’s going to happen next? What do I do? Your body feels beat up at that point, so you're a little old and decrepit as far as football goes.
Will Shields, NFL Legends Community Central South Director, sat down with The Trust to discuss his transition and life after the game. Shields played 14 seasons in the NFL as a guard for the Kansas City Chiefs, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015.
I was trying to figure out what I would do next. Where would I go? What kind of plans would be next? I ended up sitting down with my financial advisors and talking to them, and we put together a plan — working towards going into the realm of health, wellness and football. At that point I had already been doing camps for probably 10 to 12 years, so I thought that was probably what I would do on a regular basis going forward.
Take your time before you make your next step. Take a year off before you start doing something else. You don’t know what that last year or two in the league is going to look like, but you should be constantly making yourself better in the business realm and other parts of your life.
I know when you're playing, the focus is on making the team, getting on next year’s roster, etc. But you have to look on the other side. What am I good at beyond the game of football? What are my interests? What can I do next? We always want to be the person that makes enough money to not have to work anymore, but everyone still needs a purpose in life.
There are more of us on the other end of that spectrum, where we’re going to have to work day-to-day, month-to-month to make sure we make it to the end of the road compared to those that make enough to not worry for the rest of their lives.
We are the 68 Fitness and Sports Training Complex. We have basically two complexes — one we call the court, the other one we call the field. One has three basketball courts and the other one has an indoor training fields with multiple levels and fields inside for different training avenues. We’re unique in that we provide training for all ages, but also in all the methodologies we use. We have a swimming pool, a chiropractic clinic, a rehab clinic — we’ve put in all the different levels of training that I’ve ever had as a pro athlete. We want to be the best holistic wellness place for everyone to get better, regardless of your age or athletic ability.
I have a couple of different things I'm working on right now. 10 years ago, I had a neighbor that got me to invest in a bank, and then we sold it. Now, we're putting together another bank holding company. So we're technically in banking here in the Kansas market, which is pretty cool to learn how all the different pieces fit together — from loans to mortgages and how it works on the other side of banking.
I also have the Will to Succeed Foundation, which works with abused women and children. We are also expanding into a program called ‘I See Stars’, which helps develop the next generation of tech people in the country. We're doing it one community at a time, but we are starting to build it out. We have three different communities now, and are basically taking young adults that have tech capabilities and showing them it's okay to be in the tech space. It's okay to be different than where you might've grown up or where you think your life should be.
We started in the markets like Chicago, Milwaukee and Columbus. The next one we're hoping for is here in Kansas City. So we’ll take about 20 to 40 kids in the program, and It'll be pretty big when we get it put together.
I wanted to learn every program that's available for players, and understand how everything fits together cohesively and seamlessly at the next level. When you're retired, how do you understand know everything in the CBA and how does that flow? That's what sort of brought me to The Trust.
Being able to go through the Brain and Body Assessment and the other services had a tremendous effect on me and how I look at health and wellness. It helped me go from wanting to be a great athlete to just being a great individual on a day-to-day basis.
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