•  

    Ja’Michael Edwards-Lott is Trailblazing his way to the NFL by Building his own Brand

                     

    By Aaron Randolph

     

    “I realized early on that I could make a name for myself and take advantage of my on-field opportunities and turn that into more off the field opportunities, I want to change the world with my abilities on the field, I want to be Ja’Michael the hall of fame football player who opened the door for thousands of kids.”

     

    Former collegiate football player, Ja’Michael Edwards-Lott, is creating a unique path to pursue his dreams of playing professional football by creating his own brand. Through hard work and perseverance, Lott negotiated his own contract to play professional football in Finland for the Seinäjoki Crocodiles.

     

    Lott played college football at Nicholls State University after transferring from Grambling State University, where he suffered a season ending injury that ultimately led to him being released from the football team. While enrolled as a student-athlete at Nicholls State, he majored in Interdisciplinary Studies and managed to make the Dean’s List before graduating.  

     

    Surprisingly, Lott didn’t start playing football until the age of 13. During his high school years, despite the individuals around him who didn’t believe he had the athletic ability to play college football, he performed well enough to receive a scholarship to play for a Division 1 football program. Understanding early on that nothing was going to be given to him, Lott utilized every opportunity that was presented to him in order to market himself as a NFL prospect. In his junior year, when Lott was on the field, he recorded 20 tackles; including 12 solo tackles with one going for a loss. Although he didn’t receive much playing time during his senior year, that didn’t stop Ja’Michael from pursuing his dream to play professional football. After negotiating his own contract, he signed with the Seinäjoki Crocodiles in Finland to play this upcoming year in May. To prepare for this upcoming season, Ja’Michael has been working out at Dynamic Sports in Houston. He does warm-ups, high-intensity integral training, speed work and agility work that helps his on the field performance.

     

     

    Being an athlete carries its own magnitude. Lott doesn’t see himself as just an athlete but also an entrepreneur. Through his platform of football, he intends to create his own brand that will set himself up for opportunities on and off the football field.  Lott wants to create a brand that could provide an outlet for undrafted players that could play football in Europe and earn a contract with the National Football League.

     

    “I realized early on that I could make a name for myself and take advantage of my on-field opportunities and turn that into more off the field opportunities, I want to change the world with my abilities on the field, I want to be Ja’Michael the hall of fame football player who opened the door for thousands of kids.”

     

    There have been football players who play in Europe and the NFL. Dante Hall, David Akers, James Harrison, Kurt Warner, and Jake Delhomme. Lott wants to become the next great football story who went from playing professional football in Europe to the National Football League. As far as his life after football, he intends to go into sports broadcasting. Lott wants to become a football analyst like the various retired football players who appear on networks like ESPN, NBC, CBS and FOX.

     

     

    At the age of 23, Ja’Michael is creating a path that will be different from the normal path that most players take to become a professional football player. He is going to have a story that will stand out from other football players. He used the opportunities that were given to him no matter how big or small. Using his platform, he hopes to be an inspiration to thousands of people that want to chase their dreams of going pro or being an entrepreneur. Ja’Michael proves that working hard and putting God first can help anyone achieve any goal they set for themselves. He has also earned an endorsement deal with a men’s grooming company called Millen Heirs. 

     

    In the future, Lott wants to create homes for single parents and under privilege kids also become an advocate against gun violence.

     

    About Aaron Randolph, Contributing Sports Writer 

    Aaron Randolph was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia. He is currently a Class of 2018 Media Studies and Production major at Temple University. Aaron has always had a passion for media and sports production, as well as film production.  He is currently an intern for Fox 29 News and producer for a media company called MyNewPhilly. As he progresses throughout his career, he hopes to build a community center for at risk youth and women who have been victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. 

    Twitter: @ForeverAcee

    Instagram: @_aaron20

     

    About VCG Sports

    VCG Sports focuses on providing high-quality career and business development services for athletes on the collegiate and professional level, as well as highligting their achievements and involvement outside of their playing careers. We value the importance of personal interaction and take pride in building long-term relationships with the athletes we serve. Our services are cultivated around creating value and preparing athletes for life after sports. 

    Follow VCG Sports on Twitter and Instagram 

     

    Our Partners

    Men's Grooming Products 

    About MillenHeirs

    Millenheirs is an eclectic lifestyle brand whereby we currently create and sell handmade all-natural masculine-of-center grooming products, handcrafted jewelry and accessories, as well as aromatherapy items. Our line is stylishly centered around metaphysical tools, self-care, and holistic well-being.

     Www.millenheirs.com 

    MILLENHEIRS (@millen_heirs) • Instagram photos and videos

     

    States Developmental Football League

    About S.D.F.L.

    The States Developmental Football League is one of many developmental leagues participating in America's most popular sport today. We are comprised of 8 franchises that compete each year to win the SDFL BOWL, one of two of our largest annual sporting events. Founded in 2012, the SDFL developed the model for the successful developmental sports league, including extensive profit sharing, a business and financial curriculum, generational wealth building programs, competitive excellence, and strong franchises across the board. Headquartered in Houston Texas, the SDFL by 2020 will expand across the US with 20 teams.

    www.officialsdfl.net

    Follow S.D.F.L. on Twitter and Instagram

  •  

    The Transition: Life Beyond the Sport

     

    By Aaron Tyson

     

    The transition from an elite athletic figure to one's life beyond sports can present its challenges.

    Many are welcomed into professional athletics with open arms and a traveling fan base that can be traced back as far as sixth-grade. The drafted players are instantly identified as icons and hometown heroes — or better yet celebrities in today’s digital world. Even those who are undrafted are celebrated, having reached a level of playing competition that only a small percentage of collegiate athletes are able to achieve.

     

    According to the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), out of the 480,000 participating collegiate athletes, only a select few have the opportunity to play professionally:

     

    ●      Men’s Basketball- 1.1%

    ●      Women’s Basketball- 0.9%

    ●      Football- 1.5%

    ●      Men’s Ice Hockey- 5.6%

    ●      Men’s Soccer- 1.4%

     

    Although the transition from college to the pros is seemingly different (athletes are paid), they also share common themes.

     

    Beyond the Sport

     

    There is a firm need for guidance and effective educational resources to prepare athletes for life after sports. Those who are aware of the potential struggles, whether it is a collegiate or professional athlete, usually have the ability to adapt and have a smoother transition away from the game. For many, sports has served as a career for the majority of their lives, not leaving much allotted time for a ‘real job’ to build a professional resume.

     

    Student-Athletes

     

    The onerous commitment student-athletes make to their respected programs is essentially a full-time job within itself. The rigorous schedule of a Division 1 basketball program looks something like this during the week:

     

    Monday

     

    6am - 7am- Workout/treatment

    7:15am- 8am - Eat (some go back to sleep before class)

    8am - 11am- Classes

    11:15am - 2pm- Lunch, individual film sessions

    2:30pm - 4:30pm- Practice

    4:45pm - 5:45pm- Dinner

    6pm- Team Meeting/Team Film

    7pm- Study hall

     

    Schedules vary depending on the program, but this is a general structure of what the average day is like for a Division 1 athlete.

     

    As you can see, there is very little, if any, room to focus on building their resume to prepare for life after sports—especially for those who aren’t called to compete professionally. The NCAA has rules in place to govern outside employment and internships for athletes, prohibiting any potential career building opportunities during the season. However, athletes are allowed to work in the summer, but must get permission from the school and the NCAA first. Once approved, the student-athlete and their employer are required to fill out paperwork verifying that the student-athlete is actually working.

     

    Although, most collegiate athletic departments have Life Skills Departments in place to provide resources to prepare student-athletes for post-graduation, very few are unable to take full advantage of the resources and opportunities it provides due to their demanding schedules.

     

    This is where the post-career athlete employment gap begins.

     

    Professional Athletes

    Professional athletes, as stated before, are viewed as icons and celebrities to their fans. Financially rewarded with enough cash where life after sports isn’t even contemplated. The underlying reality is how long will all this last?

     

    On average, the National Football League loses about 450 players each year, due to injury, waived, cut, released, retirement, etc. On top of that, the average lifespan for an NFL player is 3-4 years.

     

    Many of those athletes stem from those large Division 1 football factories that produce NFL talent; under the same rigorous schedule that left little to know time for professional development. When careers are ended sooner than expected, those young men, who entered the NFL, are now grown men with families and children to provide for. Professional work experience is at a minimum and ‘Professional Athlete’ on their resume is only going to get them but so far with human resources without any relative skills to the position they are applying for.

     

    The NFL offers resources such as the Rookie Transition Program that introduces rookies to the NFL and the available resources to prepare for life after sports. Each club has a Player Engagement Director that is responsible for guiding current and former players through their off the field involvement and setting them up for post-career opportunities.

     

    Transitioning away from sports can present struggles, but it can be rewarding when properly guided and educated on how to prepare for a successful career away from the game.

     

    To be continued….

     

    About Aaron Tyson

    Aaron Tyson is the founder of VCG Sports. Prior to VCG Sports, he accumulated a diverse background in the sports industry having worked with organizations such as the NFL League Office, New York Giants, Philadlephia Phillies, MEAC Conference Office, and the Philadelphia Soul. He also received an Executive Certification in Sports Philanthropy from George Washington University. 

     

    Twitter: @aarontyson_

     

    About VCG Sports

    VCG Sports focuses on providing high-quality career and business development services for athletes on the collegiate and professional level, as well as highligting their achievements and involvement outside of their playing careers. We value the importance of personal interaction and take pride in building long-term relationships with the athletes we serve. Our services are cultivated around creating value and preparing athletes for life after sports. 

    Follow VCG Sports on Twitter and Instagram 

     

     

    Our Partners

    Men's Grooming Products 

    About MillenHeirs

    Millenheirs is an eclectic lifestyle brand whereby we currently create and sell handmade all-natural masculine-of-center grooming products, handcrafted jewelry and accessories, as well as aromatherapy items. Our line is stylishly centered around metaphysical tools, self-care, and holistic well-being.

     Www.millenheirs.com 

    MILLENHEIRS (@millen_heirs) • Instagram photos and videos

     

    States Developmental Football League

    About S.D.F.L.

    The States Developmental Football League is one of many developmental leagues participating in America's most popular sport today. We are comprised of 8 franchises that compete each year to win the SDFL BOWL, one of two of our largest annual sporting events. Founded in 2012, the SDFL developed the model for the successful developmental sports league, including extensive profit sharing, a business and financial curriculum, generational wealth building programs, competitive excellence, and strong franchises across the board. Headquartered in Houston Texas, the SDFL by 2020 will expand across the US with 20 teams.

    www.officialsdfl.net

    Follow S.D.F.L. on Twitter and Instagram

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  •  

    Jeremy Stewart Looks to Succeed in the Business World with Wharton School MBA As He Did in the NFL

    Written by: Aaron Randolph

    Images: Jeremy Stewart

     

    Former NFL running back Jeremy Stewart has taken his talents from the football field to the classroom.  Stewart played in the National Football League for four years and is now enrolled as a full-time graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business majoring in Finance.

     

    Jeremy Stewart exceeded in football at the high school, collegiate, and professional level. Stewart had been playing since he was eight years old. During his high school years at Catholic High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Stewart was first team all-state, all-district, and all-metro during his senior year. He played college football at Stanford University, where he had an excellent game during the 2011 Orange Bowl. He had five rushes for 99 yards and one touchdown leading his team to a 40-12 victory against the Virginia Tech Hokies.

     

    Once he finished his college career, Stewart went to the National Football League. During the 2012 Draft, he went undrafted but was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent. He had two short stints with the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Jets. He was eventually released from both teams, but Stewart believed that the adversity of being released from two teams helped him deal with tough situations. Stewart also played for the Oakland Raiders for two seasons and played one season for the Denver Broncos.

     

     

    During his college days at Stanford, he was opened to various career opportunities and towards the end of his professional playing career. While being enrolled at Stanford, Stewart had a huge interest in going into business. During the third year of his NFL career, Stewart realized he wanted to go back to school. He attended a wedding where he met some people that exposed him to business school for the first time because they were currently enrolled. He also saw some of his college teammates during the off-season and watching them excel at business made him want to attend school as well. He didn’t want to be too old trying to attend school and going to business school is something that he believes has more upside because football does not last forever.

     

    The transition for Stewart wasn’t easy because he devoted most of his life to playing football. During his transition from football to school, he had to change his day to day life. Instead of making sure he was in shape to play football, he had to get his mind ready for business school. 

     

    Moving forward, Stewart has major plans on how he will utilize his MBA once he graduates. “The biggest thing for me is to improve my knowledge as an athlete, having that knowledge of how a business works gives me so much leverage in general.” Stewart intends to go into investment banking and the tech industry. He is already making important strides to accomplish those goals by investing in his wife’s software company. During the summer, he will be working in investment banking with a leverage finance group at Wells Fargo in San Francisco. He will be helping companies make investments and acquiring other companies. 

     

    Soon, Stewart would like to help other athletes with their financial issues and literacy. He had some advice for current players that are playing in the NFL. “My advice to them is to start planning ahead and start taking the steps to set yourself up for post-football.” Jeremy Stewart has used his platform of playing football to set himself up for the best position possible for life after football. Stewart was successful on the football field and now will look to attain the same success in the business world.

     

     

    About Aaron Randolph, Contributing Sports Writer 

    Aaron Randolph was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia. He is currently a Class of 2018 Media Studies and Production major at Temple University. Aaron has always had a passion for media and sports production, as well as film production.  He is currently an intern for Fox 29 News and producer for a media company called MyNewPhilly. As he progresses throughout his career, he hopes to build a community center for at risk youth and women who have been victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. 

    Twitter: @ForeverAcee

    Instagram: @_aaron20

     

    About VCG Sports

    VCG Sports focuses on providing high-quality career and business development services for athletes on the collegiate and professional level, as well as highligting their achievements and involvement outside of their playing careers. We value the importance of personal interaction and take pride in building long-term relationships with the athletes we serve. Our services are cultivated around creating value and preparing athletes for life after sports. 

    Follow VCG Sports on Twitter and Instagram 

     

    Our Partners

    Men's Grooming Products 

    About MillenHeirs

    Millenheirs is an eclectic lifestyle brand whereby we currently create and sell handmade all-natural masculine-of-center grooming products, handcrafted jewelry and accessories, as well as aromatherapy items. Our line is stylishly centered around metaphysical tools, self-care, and holistic well-being.

     Www.millenheirs.com 

    MILLENHEIRS (@millen_heirs) • Instagram photos and videos

     

    States Developmental Football League

    About S.D.F.L.

    The States Developmental Football League is one of many developmental leagues participating in America's most popular sport today. We are comprised of 8 franchises that compete each year to win the SDFL BOWL, one of two of our largest annual sporting events. Founded in 2012, the SDFL developed the model for the successful developmental sports league, including extensive profit sharing, a business and financial curriculum, generational wealth building programs, competitive excellence, and strong franchises across the board. Headquartered in Houston Texas, the SDFL by 2020 will expand across the US with 20 teams.

    www.officialsdfl.net

    Follow S.D.F.L. on Twitter and Instagram

  •  

    From Transition to Purpose: Daron Roberts Talks About his Journey From Harvard Law, NFL Coach, and More. 

    By Aaron Tyson

    January 15, 2018 

     

    Right now I can say without a shadow of a doubt that my purpose in life is to help others identify, craft, and execute a game plan for success." 

     

    Daron, in his early years, ultimate goal was to immerse himself in the political arena. During his time at Harvard, he served as a volunteer coach at a football camp that altered the vision he had for his life. Fast forwad 169 letters to NFL coaches later, he finds himself rejecting an offer to work for a law firm and accepting a position with the Kansas City Chiefs. His journey through the NFL includes stints with the Detroit Lions and the Cleveland Browns. In an interview with Daron we learn how he progessed against societies norms and carved out his own path to success.

     

    Take us back to your early aspirations ­— What inspired you to get involved with politics initially?

    Daron: I grew up in a family that was very in tune with government. My dad was a Baptist minister and my mom was an elementary school principal. We always talked about politics, government, and how decisions were made in Washington, D.C., Austin (Texas), Mt. Pleasant (Texas), which is my hometown, affected our daily lives. So I was intrigued by politics, watched it unfold both in print and television. I was enamored with it and chose it as one of my destinations that I wanted to go into.

     

    You graduate from the University of Texas and then enroll into Harvard University. At this point in your life did you believe you were walking in your purpose?

    Daron: Absolutely. After leaving the University of Texas, my first job was working with Senator Joe Lieberman in Washington, D.C. Loved that experience. I had applied to Harvard Law School and had been wait listed. So I was trying to find ways to make my application more compelling. I went to the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, was there for two years and finally on my forth attempt I got accepted into Harvard Law School. I felt like I was walking in my purpose. I thought that Harvard Law was a necessary step in my own view of life. A Harvard Law degree, combined with a University of Texas undergraduate degree would put me in a position to become Governor of Texas.

     

    Who were some of your change agents when you made the decision to pursue a career as a NFL coach after graduating Harvard Law? Who guided you through that transition?

    Daron: To be honest with you, I had a good friend named Alfonso Longoria, who was a high school coach. He helped me strategize on how to write letters and how to talk to coaches. David Wilkins, who was my professional responsibility professor at the University of Texas, he encouraged me to really pursue my dream. He said, "don’t worry about your friends who are going to work for big firms, or going to clerk for judges, you follow your passion and go into coaching".

     

    What do you tell millennials who are “chasing their dreams”, instead of pursuing a traditional job?

    Daron: Here is my viewpoint on life. Most people don’t find their purpose, if they find it, this happens in their mid- thirties. I tell students now that I teach on a daily basis, view your 18-30 year life as a Chinese buffet period of your life. You’re going to pay a little bit of money, you’re going to pile your plate up with all different kinds of dishes, some general tso’s chicken, some moo goo gai pan, orange chicken, and egg rolls. After you have that first plate you’re going to decide, “hmm I really like these three things”. Go back and get a little more of that to see if it is as good as you think it is. This is the time for students to taste test and experiment. This is not the time to focus. This is not the time to niche down. This is not the time to narrow ones options. I tell students, if you’re a business student you should go work for non-profits during the summer, if you’re an education major you should go work for an investment bank, or a start-up. Get an experience outside of what you think you would do, it will only make you a more well-rounded person.

     

    " This is the time for students to taste test and experiment. This is not the time to focus. This is not the time to niche down. " 

     

    During your time as an NFL coach, what was the most transferable skill set you took with you?

    Daron: Crisis management. Everyday in the NFL there is a crisis. There is something that could tip the scale. So knowing how to identify what crises are, strategize ways to limit the destruction and the downside, but also leverage those as opportunities was the number one thing I took away from my time as a coach in the NFL.

     

    Now you’re the Founding Director of the Center for Sports Leadership & Innovation. Just started a new partnership with Kevin Durant. What’s the vision for the CSLI in 2018?

    Daron: CSLI (Center for Sports Leadership & Innovation) educates the majority of student-athletes that come to the University of Texas at Austin. We are focusing our efforts on devising and creating tools that will help student-athletes become better at financial literacy. We are really building out tools that will help student-athletes to manage their finances better and to live lives where poor spending decisions do not hamper them.

     

    You have referred to Steve Job's commencement speech at Stanford University where he say's, "you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect the dots looking backwards". Looking back on all of your success do the dots connect? 

    Daron: You know what I tell people? The dots always connect. The fallacy is that we think it has to be a straight line. So when I look back from my life trajectory, from Mt. Pleasant, Texas, to the University of Texas, to working in the Senate, going to the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, going to Harvard Law School, coaching for three NFL teams, coaching for college teams, and now at the University of Texas. They always connected because I see the thread for me has been teaching and helping people to become better versions of themselves. Right now I can say with out a shadow of a doubt that my purpose in life is to help identify, craft, and execute a game plan for success. That is what I am here on earth to do and all of the opportunities that come my way are filtered through that purpose. 

     

    For more on Daron Roberts follow him on Instagram and Twitter

     

    About Aaron

    Aaron Tyson currently works with VCG SPORTS aiding current and former collegiate/professional athletes with their career transition. Prior to VCG SPORTS, Aaron worked with organizations such as the NFL League Office, New York Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, MEAC Conference Office, and the Philadelphia Soul.

    Follow Aaron on Twitter   and Instagram 

  •  

    The Vision for the SDFL is Much Larger Than Football for Commissioner Garrick Jones 

     

    VCG SPORTS Communications 

    Garrick Jones may have played his last down of professional football a little over 7 years ago, but you can consider him serving as Co-Founder and Commissioner of the SDFL (States Developmental Football League), as an extension to his playing career. 

    From negotiating licensing deals for the expansion of a team in another state, increasing brand awareness, generating sponsorship revenue, and scouting players to invite to the 2018 SDFL Combine, Commissioner Jones's responsibilities stretch far beyond playing on Sunday’s.

    What seperates the SDFL from other leagues?

    "We teach these guys how to have the mindset of an owner," said Jones. 

    Founded in 2012, the SDFL (States Developmental Football League), a league operated by a cast of former players, sets its standards differently then most leagues where education is a priority, not gameplay.

    “We use the SDFL platform to educate the athletes on how to be professionals." 

    By providing players with the necessary resources to be successful such as financial advisors and professional placement programs, athletes will have a competitive advantage during their post-career transition. Since Commissioner Jones and his staff are former players, they understand and identify with the everyday challenges athletes face during and after their playing careers. 

    “We teach our guys how to generate generational wealth by teaching from our own personal testimonies.”

    One thing is for certain, football doesn't last forever.

    The average playing career for a professional football player is 3-4 years, and the SDFL is well aware that football is a bigger platform for athletes to springboard into the next phase of their career.

    To learn more about the SDFL you can vist their website and follow them on Instagram and Twitter  to stay updated on the latest information. 

     

    About VCG SPORTS 

    VCG SPORTS provides the highest quality of developmental service. We place a precedence on personal interaction with our partners to build long-term relationships. The goal is to create value and opportunities for current and former athletes transitioning away from the game by leveraging their athletic brand. Our Visionary Sports Business Academy is designed to serve and empower students who have an interest in working within the sports industry. Also, understanding the social impact sports has on a global scale, we aim to improve sports-related non-profit organizations drive their mission and serve their communities by utilizing the influence of athletes and sports organizations. 

    Aaron Tyson: atyson@vcomgroup.com