Shaun Cody's post-NFL life is as offbeat as his off-the-field ways when he played.
The 8-year pro, who spent his final four seasons with the Texans from 2009 through 2012, is back home in Southern California. These days, the father of three divides his time between opening a restaurant, beekeeping and gardening at home, and serving as the radio color analyst at his alma mater, USC.
That's quite a lot to digest in one sentence. So let's start with the restaurant.
Cody took a restaurant managing course for seven months, and along with his brother , has put together a business plan, started constructing recipes, scouting locations and more. It's something he said he's been very "passionate" about pursuing, and Cody estimates he's six months away from an opening.
"I'm teaming up with my brother, who's really into the culinary side," Cody said. "I think it's it's a good match between us. We can hopefully bring something cool to the table and some good for our area."
When Cody signed his National Letter of Intent to play for the Trojans in 2001, USC's fortunes under head coach Pete Carroll took a major turn for the better. The 2004 season culminated in a National Championship, as Cody and the Trojans thrashed Oklahoma, 55-19 in the Orange Bowl to finish 13-0. Cody was a team captain that year, tallied 10 sacks, and picked up the Pac-10 Co-Defensive Player of the Year award.
Now, he's back on the air as a color commentator for the radio broadcasts of Trojan football. A free spirit in general, Cody said he buckles down and gets serious about his task on the air.
"When I watch games and I listen to the analysts, I know when they're not informed about stuff and when they're kind of just winging it," Cody said. "I didn't want to be that guy. I really jumped into it, tried to do as much homework as I could about the other teams and about USC and really, really dove into it. So it was a lot of a lot of homework."
As for the beekeeping, that venture began at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. And it didn't go smoothly, at first.
"I got the bees in the back of my truck and we're taking off," Cody said. "This was in an enclosed suburban, and the bees fell over and it was a bee tornado in my car. So I lost about half my bees. I ended up getting them to home, but it started off on the wrong foot. So this year we got locked in. No bees slipped into the car. We got them all to the home. So the queen is doing her thing right now. And it looks like it looks like it could be a nice a nice harvest for that honey."
Cody was drafted by the Lions in 2005, and played in Detroit through 2008. He signed with Houston in the spring of 2009, and enjoyed being on a 9-7 club that season, after going winless the year before in the Motor City. A back-and-forth Week 2 win at Tennessee, which included fisticuffs on the sidelines, was an eye-opening introduction to the AFC South rivalry. Cody even got fined.
"I was on the bench and just fooling around," Cody said. "The fight kind of starts on the sideline and I jump in with a pretend swing. I got fined $5,000 for that. No more fooling around on the bench for me."
Cody was a part of that 9-7 crew in 2009, as well as the first two playoff squads in 2011 and 2012. His 'On the Nose with Shaun Cody' video series those last two years offered a glimpse into the fun times in those locker rooms, and put some unique personalities on display to the fans. He still keeps in touch with a handful of his teammates from those years, and does so on a regular basis.
"We have a group text thread," Cody said. "I wake up and I have some crazy thought and I then I text it off to those guys and then we have like a daily discussion about it. Usually it's Connor Barwin, Brian Cushing, Tim Bulman, Darryl Sharpton. Antonio Smith will drop a jewel every now and then. It's a good thread. I always get a good laugh from those guys."
Cody remembers his time in Houston fondly, and said he always enjoys coming back to the city. He's hoping to visit Houston again, soon, and see some friends and places that hold a special place in his heart.