Former NFL player and coach to become full-time consultant

16 April 2019 Consulting.us

Robert Mathis spent 14 years playing for the National Football League (NFL)’s Indianapolis Colts. He is a six-time Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl winner. After retiring, he joined the Colts again, first as a volunteer assistant coach in the 2017 offseason, then to full-time when the season began.

Mathis has now stepped down from his coaching position – but he isn’t done with the Colts just yet. He plans to stay with the team as a pass-rush consultant. “Yeah, he just stepped back to just a consulting role,” Frank Reich, the Colts’ head coach, told reporters. “So still kind of helping on pass-rush stuff, but not full-time. Just periodically coming in, helping. So in spirit still with us.”

Mathis holds a Colts franchise record of 123 sacks and 54 forced fumbles – the most in NFL history. As for his consulting career, Mathis will be on staff at Pro X Athlete, a professional-level training facility which employs several former pro athletes in Westfield, Indianapolis.

The move comes from Mathis’s desire to step away from the playing field and spend more time with his family, according to ESPN. It will also allow Mathis to spend more time with players, should they need it. Under the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, an assistant coach is limited in the amount of time he or she can spend training athletes during the offseason. This point is moot if players are training with a consultant or trainer, such as those as Pro X Athlete, as they are not officially associated with any team.Former NFL player and coach to become full-time consultant“The Colts have done a great job supporting me,” Mathis told ESPN’s Mike Wells. “I’m still a partner with them. I’m just not a coach with the team anymore. They know my heart is in a good place. They know I have good intentions and that I want the best for them. This is one of the ways I feel like I can help them. It’s a win-win because I still get to do what I’m passionate about in teaching while helping guys on the team I spent my entire career with.”

“It’s a big jump going from playing to coaches. It’s a big commitment,” Reich added. “I think it can be a win-win, where he can still be there and still offer his wisdom and stuff to us at appropriate times and in appropriate ways.”

Mathis’s somewhat lateral move isn’t entirely strange. Professional athletes often stick around their chosen sport after retirement. To do otherwise can prove difficult. While often wealthy, retired athletes are sometimes lost to the wind when it comes to marketable skills that would allow them to enter other areas of business.

EY and Athlete Career Transition (ACT) joined forces to combat this in March 2017, with EY offering “athletes around the globe with professional roles within its global operation, as well as the necessary training and development resources to make the transition possible." 

Related: NFL coaches and Fortune 50 CEOs go head-to-head


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