When you stop and think of what the life of a retired National Football League player looks like a lot of things probably come to mind, but most people probably wouldn't put tech executive on that list.
That however is exactly what former NFL superstar Patrick Willis is doing after he shockingly stepped away from the game, seemingly in the prime of his career at just 30 years of age. While there are likely a litany of motivating factors that resulted in Willis making this move, some of the public statements he made this week really stood out, and it sounds like Willis is trying to set an example for young men who grew up in difficult circumstances, much like he himself did.
"People always told me when I was growing up that if you want to be something great, you have to be this physical specimen that can jump up to here and all that," Willis told Mashable in an interview this week,
"For me, this is an opportunity to be able to tell young kids that you can be more than just a physical specimen to be great," Willis said. "I'm a person that can't speak about something until I've done it myself."
What has motivated Willis to want to become a better example for other young men? It sounds like some of the players who came before him as well as his peers, and their struggles after football may have been a big factor.
“Honestly, I pay attention to guys when they’re finished playing, walking around like they’ve got no hips and they can’t play with their kids. They can barely walk,” Willis said in his farewell press conference. “People see that and they feel sorry, but they don’t realize it’s because he played a few extra years.
“For me, there’s more to my life than football. It has provided an amazing platform for me to build on, but it’s my health first and everything else just kind of makes sense around it.”