You hear so many stories about football players who fall apart once their pro days are over. Not linebacker Kailee Wong. In fact, Wong is the perfect role model for how to prepare for life after the NFL.
Wong, who graduated with an economics degree from Stanford, completed executive education programs at Harvard Business School, The Wharton School, and the Stanford Graduate School of Business during the offseasons when he was playing. When he retired from the Texans in 2006 after a nine-year pro career, he was ready to take on entrepreneur ventures.
"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. "It translates into your life after football. I think that's why you hear the staggering statistics about divorce or bankruptcy – you have that void. I went through that a little bit, but I got involved in some real estate and investment ventures. I started a management company involved in energy. I ended up finally settling on starting my own company with a fellow Stanford graduate. We started an energy efficiency company, e3 Advantage."
When I asked Wong what advice he would give to players hanging up their cleats, he had this to say:
"The first thing I would say is clearly look at your household budget and understand your expenses and what it costs to run house, because it is the most eye-opening experience when you realize that you will never have income coming in at the same level as you did when you were playing.
"The other thing is during the offseason, continue to condition and work out, but also look to obtain new skills and learn about the things that interest you, so that you can transition and have some idea of what you want to do after football."
Click here to read about what Wong has been doing since he retired.
Also, check out this SI article on troubles that many former athletes face.