Life After Football

by Chanel Smith


What’s going on y’all?  This past week has been a pretty busy one for me. Between working out, and getting things organized for my charity basketball game, (go to for info) I neglected my blog but HERE I AM. Today I was up since 5:00 this morning visiting different stations to promote my game. I even got the chance to be a traffic reporter, which quickly reminded me that I need to stick to my day job. Yesterday I had the opportunity to be a part of something that I am proud of and truly thankful for.  Through my foundation (The Torrey Smith Foundation), along with the help from Scholastic and Home Depot, we were able to create a reading oasis covered in purple and gold, filled with 1,200 books for the students at Dickey Hill Elementary School. While I was there, I was able to hang out with the students, read them a book, and answer a few questions. It was a very rewarding experience.  One bright young man asked me “What would you be doing if you didn’t play football?”. This is a question that I am often asked, and to be honest I think about all of the time, which is what inspired me to write this post.

I graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Criminal Justice.  When I choose my major I thought that I was going to be the next Horatio Caine…that is until my professor told me that 90% of CSI is fake! So I had to settle in on the fact that my future wouldn’t be that extreme but I could still find a great career within my major.  From that point on I saw my major as a way to get into the government to work, whether it be through the FBI or maybe even law school (If you follow me on twitter you would know that I love a good debate).  Then there’s communications, which would have been minor had I not left college early. Since I’ve been in the NFL I have grown to love the communications aspect of being an athlete. I am a very social person, and love interacting with people so it seems like a natural fit right?  As you can see my mind is everywhere and the possibilities are endless.

Thankfully I don’t have to make that decision today but I continue to try to find out what I would enjoy doing when I do decide to “hang my cleats up” for good.  It is something that a lot of athletes avoid thinking about until it is too late.  I try to “keep it real” understanding that it could happen at any moment, my next play, workout, or even next car trip.  It’s harsh but life always throws curveballs and you need to prepare yourself for every situation.  During the offseason I really try to take full advantage of my free time by networking and exploring different career fields.  Last off-season, I interned with Rep. Elijah Cummings. It was a great experience for me learning the ins and outs of what he does and more specifically what his team does to help the people of Baltimore.  His staff was amazing and I learned a lot from them.

This season I will be participating in the NFL: Consumer Product Boot Camp, which is one of the many transitional programs that the NFL offers. .  The consumer product industry is interesting to me because it focuses on the business side of things, from establishing a business to marketing strategies.  The NFL has some powerful people running this camp that will teach us everything that we need to know in order to run a successful business.  Do I want to be a business owner? I have no clue, but I do know that I can learn and grow from this camp experience.  It is another way for me to figure out what I’m interested in and expand my knowledge.

I did a lot of writing and never truly said what I wanted to do with my life when I’m done with football.  I feel like I’m a senior in high school all over again who doesn’t know what to major in.  There is only one way to find out and it’s simple.  Go figure out what you like! You have time but not forever. That’s my approach to figuring this thing out.  Who knows what I will be doing next offseason. I can tell you it will not be traffic reporting, I’ll leave that to Candace.