Life after football is sometimes a cloudy, far-off idea in the mind of an NFL player. While he's been working out and staying in shape for 2014 and beyond, right guard Brandon Brooks has maintained a focus on his long-term future.
Brooks has interned at Amegy Bank of Texas for over a month, gaining hands-on experience in the industry of treasury management, private banking, business banking and more. The third-year offensive lineman defines the last few weeks of managing money and credit as an "invaluable life experience."
"There were a lot of people that were surprised I wanted to do this," Brooks said. "Playing In the NFL, there's a 100 percent chance of injury. You never know when that might be. I'd be a fool not to create options for myself, regardless of if I'm playing or not."
A psychology major at Miami University, Brooks has been accepted to the Master's degree program of finance at St. Thomas University. Once he hangs up his cleats, he plans to take the CFA and pursue a career in portfolio management.
Executive Vice President Suzette Jones, who has been a mentor to Brooks throughout his internship, was extremely complimentary of Brooks' work ethic. She described the athlete as "someone you would want to hire in a New York minute."
"Brandon has been the ideal employee, honestly," Jones said. "He has been engaged from the minute that we met him. He came into the division and was so interested in what we were doing and what he'd like to do in the future. Every team member that has met him has said the same thing; 'What a great guy.'"
Texans tight end Phillip Supernaw, who joined the team in 2012 with Brooks, applauds his teammate for being proactive and ambitious in the world of business.
"I think Brandon's got to be one of the smartest guys I've met," Supernaw said. "A lot of guys don't take advantage of that stuff and for him to do this says a lot about him. You'd like to think he doesn't have to worry about money and stuff like that after football, but for him to still be motivated and focused on that stuff says a lot about him and his character."
Coming in at 6-foot-5, 335-pounds, Brooks is the largest Texan in franchise history and certainly the largest employee Amegy Bank has ever seen.
"When you shake his hand you kind of go 'Oh my gosh, he's taking over my entire hand,'" laughed Jones. "When he comes in my office he doesn't fit in the chair. He's kind of leaning forward and I thought, 'Wow, he's leaning forward because he's really engaged,' but he actually just couldn't sit back in the chair! But he just has a presence about him that has nothing to do with his size."
"I noticed when we were talking he was leaning over my desk the whole time," added Vice President Everitt Lang. "I was like, 'Brandon, you can sit down,' and he said 'Actually, I can't because the arms on the chair won't allow me to sit down. I'm too wide.' So that was pretty funny."
Jones and Brooks both expressed their appreciation for the partnership between Amegy Bank and the Houston Texans. The two agree that the internship has been mutually beneficial to either side.
"The exposure to the Texans has been so fun," Jones said. "Every individual that has met him has to get over the initial 'He's an NFL football player!' But beyond that, it's just been really neat to see a professional athlete come into an environment and bring what they do on the field; the professionalism, the focus, the discipline. It's just been amazing to see how that translates."
As his final days of employment approach, Brooks recounts his first moments with the organization.
"I was nervous just because I've never had a real job," he said. "I didn't really know business etiquette or maybe how to properly dress. Luckily, I had some ideas and it worked out the first day, but it's nice to see the other side and see what the real world is like."
Like a true mentor, Jones had some parting words for her new favorite intern.
"He's been so tolerant of our enthusiasm with the fact of who he is and who he will become. We know he's going to be so successful in anything that he does. We were so pleased to be able to be a part of helping him shape what he wants to do perhaps in the future."