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Former NFL players are almost infamous for suffering from serious financial troubles after they retire. Now the league is trying to help fix the problem.
In Baltimore recently, two former NFL stars stood huddled next to each other, looking down at a colorful pair of dress socks—the latest from the Plaxico Burress Collection. Former All-Pro Giant linebacker Carl Banks nodded his approval to Burress and marveled at the quality of the socks, something Burress said he has finally perfected after months of testing out samples.
"It's time to expand now," Banks emphasized to Burress, who currently sells his collection in two New York City boutiques.
The two exchanged phone numbers and agreed to be in touch about getting Burress' product in stores catered toward the big and tall, where Banks has significant connections.
The scene? The 2014 NFL Consumer Products Boot Camp where more than 15 past and present players are learning skills they hope will last them long after their playing days.
Banks is a success story for the NFL. The former linebacker who won two Super Bowls with the Giants has transformed himself off the field into a successful businessman and president of GIII Sports By Carl Banks.
Banks is working with the NFL to help others find success off the field and help NFL players avoid going from millionaire to just another statistic.
In 2009, Sports Illustrated reported that 78 percent of NFL players face bankruptcy or serious financial stresses within two years of leaving the league. The NFL disputes this figure, saying that NFL retirees have higher income than men of similar ages in the general population.
"There's only so much room in the broadcasting booth," Banks emphasizes to the group during one of the many sessions, which teach everything from marketing to copyright patent law.
The NFL has long held boot camps (broadcasting always the most popular) but this is the first one focused on consumer products.
"This is one of a number of experiences we do to expose our players to life after playing football," said Kimberly Fields, vice president of player engagement for the NFL. "We want to arm players with the tools and resources to do wonderful things in the community."
The players attending the boot camp come from all backgrounds and levels of business experience.
"I happen to be a player that has no clue what I want to do once I'm done with football, so I thought this program would be beneficial to me," said Torrey Smith, wide receiver for the 2013 Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
For other players, the week is about learning the necessary skills to take their products to the next level.
"A few years ago we came up with an idea to come up with a potty training package," said Mike Leach, a 37-year-old long snapper for the Arizona Cardinals. "Now we're trying to get manufacturing and distribution."
Leach, a 14-year veteran, says he has become more serious about his life off the field as his window in the NFL has shortened. He's attending the boot camp with his wife and business partner Julie, who says it has been great networking and is helping to provide them with resources, ideas and knowledge to move forward with their product.
Ten-year NFL veteran Phillip Buchanon has other motivations for being at boot camp. Several years ago, a bad business deal and pressure from friends and family almost put him in financial ruin.
"I had one deal where I lost $1.6 million," he said.
Today, he's hoping to tell his cautionary tale in a book and board game aimed at players coming into wealth quickly.
"I felt like this was a way for me to give back after long nights of dealing with bad business deals," Buchanon said.
He said the boot camp has taught him about marketing and being able to take his products and brand to the next level.
"I think just being here is very encouraging and motivating for me," said Buchanon.
Longtime NFL cornerback Phillip Buchanon is creating a board game to teach money management and other life skills to kids. Arizona Cardinals long snapper Mike Leach and his wife, Julie, are developing a product to help parents toilet train their toddlers. Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Plaxico Burress has introduced a line of colorful, luxury socks.
The budding entrepreneurs just need a little coaching — and not the sort involving the shriek of whistles — to assist them with such things as marketing, branding and contracts.
This Sunday, the group will join a dozen other current and former National Football League players — including Ravens' wide receiver Torrey Smith — at a four-day conference in Baltimore on getting started in consumer products sales. While the NFL has held "boot camps" on broadcasting and other topics, this is its first focusing on product pitches, and it's the first hosted by Baltimore.
The conference isn't designed only for players — such as Burress —who have already started businesses. The Burress collection includes fancy socks with names like "The Bold Stripe," "the Yacht Club" and the "the Paisley Park," each selling for $24 a pair.
"I'm hoping he brings socks for all of the (conference) participants," said former defensive back Troy Vincent, an executive with NFL Player Engagement, which provides off-the-field resources — such as the seminars — for current and former players.
For years, NFL players were often targeted for ill-advised investments. "It was good money going to bad because they were not informed," Vincent said "We lacked job readiness because we lacked the hands-on experience."
During the conference, the players will split into four teams and prepare and present a product pitch to judges, including Vincent and Henry C. Boyd III, associate chair of the marketing department at Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business.
LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — A pair of former Washington Redskins are going Hollywood… or at least they’re taking some steps toward it by learning the business from some heavy hitters including the producer of The Dark Knight series.
Shaun Alexander and Phillip Buchanon, both of whom had brief stints in DC, are among 20 current and former players participating in the second annual “NFL Pro Hollywood Boot Camp.”
From March 11-15, the athletes will learn all facets of the industry, including screen writing, directing, producing, and film financing.
The players will be under the tutelage of actor/director Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, Chicago Hope), producer Thomas Tull (The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Inception) and writer/actor/director Robert Townsend (The Five Heartbeats, Hollywood Shuffle). Tull is also a part-owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Among the group of players participating is former Oakland Raiders running back Justin Fargas whose father portrayed the iconic jive-talking pimp Huggy Bear on the cult television classic Starsky and Hutch. The character was later played by rapper Snoop Dogg in the 2004 film revival starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson.
Alexander, 35, had a cup of coffee with the Redskins in 2008, but has not played in the NFL since. In 2005, the first-round pick from Alabama was named NFL MVP after rushing for a staggering 1,880 yards and 27 touchdowns.
Buchanon, 32, also ended his 10-year NFL career in Washington where he played in 2010 and briefly in 2011.
Every Thursday Night proCanes.com joins All Canes Radio to bring the latest news on not only current Hurricane football but also proCane news and exclusive interviews with current and former proCanes live from the Titanic Brewery in Coral Ga Gables. Click here to listen to this week’s show and hear our exclusive interview with former Hurricane great DB and current proCane Phillip Buchanon. Buchanon talks about the glory days at “The U” his time with Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders and how his rehab is going. Buchanon also talks about his latest business ventures and what his type of lady is.
The Redskins released a statement Saturday announcing that they have placed cornerback Phillip Buchanon on the Reserve/Injured list and added cornerback Brandyn Thompson to their 53-man roster.
Buchanon (5-11, 190) was in his 10th NFL season and his second with the Redskins. Buchanon has played in 123 career NFL games, including two during the 2011 season.
Thompson (5-10, 177) appeared in two games in 2011. Thompson saw action at cornerback in the Redskins’ Week 2 win against Arizona, and he appeared on special teams in Washington’s Week 3 game against Dallas.
Phillip Buchanon broke the news earlier via his personal facebook page, ending his season before it really got started.
The post is time stamped at about noon on Saturday. It says, “I will be placed on IR today so my season would be over & what a crazy year.”
After playing as the team’s nickel back in 2010, Buchanon was resigned to a one-year contract after the lockout ended. He served a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy before rejoining the roster.
Washington Redskins’ defensive coordinator Jim Haslett declined to commit Thursday on whether cornerback Phillip Buchanon would make his season debut Sunday. Buchanon re-joined the team Oct. 3 after serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Buchanon practiced with the Redskins on Oct. 4 before the team took the rest of the week off for its bye. Buchanon practiced Monday and was listed as “limited” with a neck injury for Wednesday’s practice, but has said he will be ready to play when he gets the nod from his coaches.
Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said Wednesday that he and his staff need to further evaluate Buchanon’s conditioning. On Thursday, Haslett said: “It all depends. We’ll see.”
“We can’t activate everybody, so we’ll see how they do the next couple of days, and we’ll make a decision,” Haslett added.
Buchanon is competing with Kevin Barnes and Byron Westbrook for playing time as one of Washington’s backup cornerbacks. Barnes has served as the team’s nickelback, covering teams’ slot receivers, while starters DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson cover the receivers on the outside. Barnes said Wednesday: “I’m still the nickel.”
Haslett said Buchanon has gotten work both in the nickel and outside corner positions, but that he still is getting up to speed on the inside position, where he has played only sparingly during his pro career.
“I don’t know if he’s ready for that task yet. … That’s a hard position to play because we ask them to do a lot of different things,” Haslett said. “Not just covering, you’ve got to blitz, you’ve got to mask the defense, you’ve got to know if they’re regular people … gotta know where to line up, get set, know the guy that runs the option route or the deep routes, so there are a lot of plays to know at that position.”
Washington Redskins’ cornerback Phillip Buchanon has yet to receive word whether he’ll make his season debut on Sunday, but if given the nod, the 10th-year veteran believes that he can help his team against the Philadelphia Eagles.
“If my number is called, and I’m suited up, I’ll be ready to play,” said Buchanon, who was suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
Buchanon -- who last season served primarily as Washington’s third cornerback, recording 49 tackles and two interceptions – was activated by the Redskins last week. Wednesday marks his third practice with the team. Coach Mike Shanahan said last week that Buchanon “can help us right away,” but so far, Buchanon hasn’t received any indication whether he will play against the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday.
Buchanon said he has worked to ensure he remained in game-ready shape, but conceded that there’s nothing like game action. At the same time, he said he wouldn’t lobby for playing time if he wasn’t ready to take the field.
“I’m a person and a player that I take pride in playing football and I want to do the best,” he said. “I don’t want to embarrass myself or my teammates or my coaches, so I’m ready to play whenever the coaches are ready for me to play.”
With Buchanon out, third-year pro Kevin Barnes has held down the nickel corner spot, lining up against the opposing team’s slot receiver. Although Buchanon has received work at both the inside and outside positions and says he feels comfortable at either, Barnes said as far as he knows, nothing about his role has changed.
“I’m still the nickel. Still the nickel,” Barnes said. “You’re better off asking coach, but right now, it’s as is and I’m sure we’ll find a way to get Phil in there whenever and I’m sure he’ll produce.”
Barnes, who has recorded eight tackles, one pass deflection and an interception, added that he feels like he deserves to keep his job, however.
“I did what the coaches asked me to do and made some plays here and there, and pretty much staked my claim that I should be playing,” he said.
Fellow corner Josh Wilson, who starts opposite DeAngelo Hall, said whenever coaches decide to put Buchanon on the field, it will help the Redskins’ secondary. He joked that he hopes Buchanon stops offering his coaching expertise whenever he does get on the field.
“I’m about tired of hearing him talking and ready for him to get out here and do something,” Wilson said with a laugh. “He’s out there talking about plays, how you can jump something, make a play on this, make a play on that. I’m like, ‘I feel you, I feel you.’”
Wilson then expressed appreciation about having Buchanon in the mix.
“That’s a great player,” he said, “and any time you get great players back off of whatever, it makes your team better.”
Redskins cornerback Phillip Buchanon is back with the team following his four-game suspension, and he’s declining to say what substance he took to earn that suspension — other than that he didn’t mean to take it.
Buchanon said it was “an honest mistake,” according to CSNwashington.com.
The NFL has strict privacy rules regarding drug testing, and so there’s no way to tell which players were busted for taking steroids and which ones merely took an over-the-counter supplement that had a substance on the banned list. Buchanon didn’t want to volunteer anything.
“Things happen,” he said. “I look forward to trying to make plays.”
The Redskins have their bye this week, and Buchanon is expected to start making plays in Week Six against the Eagles.
ASHBURN, Va. -- The NFL revealed Friday that Washington Redskins cornerback Phillip Buchanon's four-game suspension to start the season is for a violation of the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances.
While the NFL officially announced the suspension Friday, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said a month ago that Buchanon would be suspended for the first four games of the regular season, but he didn't reveal why.
Buchanon re-signed with the Redskins on Aug. 1 after playing in all 16 games during his first season in Washington, starting five. He saw limited action during the preseason because the coaches wanted to focus on players who would be available during the first month of the season.
The NFL said the suspension officially begins Sept. 3, and Buchanon will be eligible to return to the active roster Oct. 3, following the team's Week 4 game at St. Louis entering their bye week.
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