Skip to main content

Where are they now: Kailee Wong


Linebacker Kailee Wong retired as the Texans' all-time sack leader with 15, a record since broken by defensive end Mario Williams.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This offseason, will get back in touch with former Texans to find out what they're up to now in their post-NFL lives. Below is the third installment of our "Where are they now?" series.

During his nine-year pro career, Kailee Wong earned a reputation as a savvy linebacker with a high IQ and a relentless work ethic. Since his retirement from the Texans after the 2006 season, he has relied on the same set of skills.

Wong, who graduated with a degree in economics from Stanford University and completed executive education programs at Harvard Business School, The Wharton School and the Stanford Graduate School of Business, has become a successful entrepreneur in Houston.

"There is a lot of stuff you take with you from football," Wong said. "Some of the biggest things are time management, setting goals and being very direct and candid about what you can deliver and being upfront to the people you are serving. I think that's a lot of what football has taught me."

{QUOTE}For several years, Wong has been involved in a variety of real estate ventures and he co-founded Cardinal Management, a commercial real estate management firm. Most recently, he and a fellow Stanford alum formed e3 Advantage, a company that helps commercial, industrial and government facilities reduce their energy consumption through the design and installation of electrical efficiency systems.

While Wong might be one of the smartest players to have graced the NFL, transitioning from playing on Sundays to working long nights on weekdays wasn't easy.

"One of the things I don't think people realize is how to replace the passion of playing in a game, how fun it is and the camaraderie that goes with it," Wong said. "You miss that in life after football. I think that's why you hear the staggering statistics about divorce or bankruptcy, because you have that void. It's tough to deal with, but it helped that I had developed some of my interests early on."

Wong also has enjoyed staying connected to football by being a member of the **Texans Ambassadors**, a group of former Texans and NFL players who reside in the Houston area and represents the team at Texans games and in the community.

"It's great to stay connected, especially because of how much I love this organization," Wong said. "From the owner, to the coaching, to watching the players play, I am proud to be a part of the Texans."

Wong began his career with the Vikings, who selected him in the second round of the 1998 draft. He spent four seasons in Minnesota, where he had a career-high 134 tackles in 2000, before signing with Houston as a free agent prior to the team's inaugural 2002 season.

Wong became the Texans' premier pass rusher as an outside linebacker in their 3-4 defense. His best season with the team came in 2004 when he had 71 tackles, 5.5 sacks and three interceptions. He suffered a knee injury at Seattle the following season and appeared in 10 games in 2006 after missing more than a year following knee surgery. He retired as the Texans' all-time sack leader with 15, a record since broken by defensive end Mario Williams.

"My time with the Texans was awesome," Wong said. "I have almost forgotten about being with the Vikings. I look at myself as a Texan. I started with the team when they started. We weren't as successful as we had wanted to be, but ultimately they will be a successful and winning franchise. They are close, very close. It's nice to see them turning the corner, and it's nice that I can cheer them on and be one of their biggest supporters."

Despite his success on the field and in the boardroom, Wong says his biggest accomplishment in life is his family. But when talk turns to his family, it's hard for him to escape questions about his famous brother-in-law, actor Mario Lopez.

"He really is everywhere," Wong said. "You hear the jokes about President Obama saying to Mario, 'Mario, you are busier than me.' He has so many jobs and so many things going on right now that it's really fun to watch. We have trouble just keeping up with all the shows that he is on. But it's nice because when he does have downtime, he chooses to see his nieces and nephews.

"I have to say I really am the most proud of my family, my wife and my three children. Despite the fact that I'm trying to build a business, in the end I just want to spend more time with them."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content