NFL Players Enroll in Special Business Programs

NFL All-Stars Drew Brees of the San Diego Chargers, Brian Dawkins of the Philadelphia Eagles, and Ahman Green of the Green Bay Packers are among the 66 NFL players who have enrolled in executive education programs at Harvard Business School and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

The National Football League and NFL Players Association worked with the business schools to create the curriculums. Cornerback Bobby Taylor will be the lone representative of the Seahawks. Taylor, a former Philadelphia Eagle, will participate in the University of Pennsylvania program

The programs that run from April 6-8 are part of an ongoing NFL- NFLPA initiative to assist players in preparing for their post-playing careers. Tuition will be covered by the NFL’s Tuition Reimbursement Program. Veteran players may be reimbursed up to $15,000 per league year for education expenses at an accredited institution of higher learning.

In addition to Brees, Green and Dawkins, all of whom will be participating in the workshop at the Wharton School, Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Dhani Jones, wide receiver Freddie Mitchell, and Kansas City Chiefs fullback Tony Richardson are among the players enrolled in the Harvard Business School workshop.

Three members of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots will also take part. Defensive back Je'Rod Cherry and linebacker Ted Johnson will participate in the workshop at Harvard Business School. Tight end Christian Fauria is enrolled in the Wharton School program.

As part of its custom executive education activities, Harvard Business School has developed a customized workshop targeted to the needs of NFL players interested in owning, operating or building their own businesses. The Wharton Sports Business Initiative and Wharton Executive Education have collaborated to develop a combination classroom and field-based workshop. It focuses on personal investments as well as entrepreneurial opportunities for players transitioning from their football careers. Both three-day programs run from April 6-8. The Harvard program concludes with an additional three-day session in May. The Wharton program offers follow-up with a year-long support program.

"This is one of many important steps that the union is taking to assist NFL players in their lives off the playing field," said Buffalo Bills cornerback Troy Vincent, who is president of the NFL Players Association and will be participating in the program at the Wharton School.

"I know first hand how challenging it is to begin that second career. We are delighted that we are able to provide this additional assistance to players," added NFL Vice President of Player and Employee Development Mike Haynes, a Pro Football Hall of Famer who took executive education classes during his playing career.

Career development after football has become an increasing concern of the NFLPA in the last few years - gone are the days when players like Haynes had to further their educations on their own. In an AP story last year, Vincent pointed to the alarming number of ex-players who call the NFL offices on a regular basis looking for jobs, and there are far too many unfortunate stories of former stars who have fallen on hard times.

Following are the NFL players enrolled in the workshop at the Harvard Business School (most recent team listed in parenthesis if player is a free agent):

Player Team   Player Team
DB Jason Bell Houston   LB Ted Johnson New England
DB Jack Brewer NY Giants   DE Lance Johnstone Minnesota
T Ray Brown Washington   LB Dhani Jones Philadelphia
G Ruben Brown Chicago   TE Dustin Lyman Chicago
DB Je'Rod Cherry (New England)   LB Mike Maslowski Kansas City
QB Todd Collins Kansas City   WR Freddie Mitchell Philadelphia
RB Greg Comella (Tampa Bay)   LB Ryan Nece Tampa Bay
LB Sam Cowart Minnesota   P Kyle Richardson Cleveland
DE Jerry DeLoach Houston   RB Tony Richardson Kansas City
WR Damon Dunn Retired (Jax, Cle, Dal, NYJ)   DB Dainon Sidney Detroit
DE Demetric Evans Washington   DB Jason Simmons Houston
TE Kendall Gammon Kansas City   DB Pat Terrell Retired (Car., GB, NYJ, Rams)
DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila Green Bay   LB Kailee Wong Houston
LB Barrett Green NY Giants   DE Renaldo Wynn Washington
C Justin Hartwig Tennessee      
C Kevin Houser New Orleans      

Following are the NFL players enrolled in the workshop at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (most recent team listed in parenthesis if player is a free agent):

Player Team   Player Team
T Willie Anderson Cincinnati   DE N.D. Kalu Philadelphia
LB Micheal Barrow Washington   QB Danny Kanell Denver
QB Drew Brees San Diego   LB Jason Kyle Carolina
K Doug Brien NY Jets   DT Steve Martin Minnesota
TE Mark Bruener Houston   DT Alvin McKinley Cleveland
T Javiar Collins Cleveland   G Brandon Moore New York Jets
RB Casey Cramer Carolina   LB Jim Nelson (Indianapolis)
DB Brian Dawkins Philadelphia   LB Hardy Nickerson Retired (Pit., TB, Jax., GB)
TE Darnell Dinkins Baltimore   DB Brian Russell (Minnesota)
TE Christian Fauria New England   RB Rod Smart Carolina
DE Akbar Gbaja-Biamila Oakland   LB Takeo Spikes Buffalo
RB Ahman Green Green Bay   TE Brad St. Louis Cincinnati
DB Robert Griffith Arizona   DB Bobby Taylor Seattle
DB William Hampton Carolina   LB David Thornton (Indianapolis)
TE Ben Hartsock Indianapolis   DB Troy Vincent Buffalo
DB Terrence Holt Detroit   DB Dewayne Washington (Jacksonville)
RB Terry Jackson San Francisco   TE Roland Williams St. Louis
T Matt Joyce Detroit   DB Jimmy Wyrick (Miami)

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