The NFL Players Association announced the start of their third-annual NFLPA Externship, a chance for current players to gain some experience away from the field, looking into an area of work that may interest them when their playing days are over. Players applied for the program during the regular season, then were matched with available companies and positions to best fit their interests. The 2016 NFLPA Externship involves 26 players this year, including Miami Dolphins defensive end Terrence Fede.
The NFLPA describes the Externship as a three-week offseason program in which, "externs will spend time with various organizations that are committed to providing insight on their respective industries, assigning real-world projects, and offering feedback to the externs on what would make them more marketable." Fede and Detroit Lions running back Joique Bell will be working with the University of Maryland Athletic Department.
Also hosting players are Arizona State University Athletic Department, Capitol Hill offices of Congressman Bobby Rush and Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Comcast SportsNet, Events DC, Fanatics, Marriott International, Panini, Under Armour, The Trust, and the NFLPA.
"Many players have been successful in football due to a linear focus on their athletic endeavors," explained Leslie Satchell, NFLPA senior manager of player affairs and development and NFLPA Externship supervisor. "But the NFLPA recognizes the importance of taking time out to build professional relationships and experiences outside of football. We know it can be overwhelming to prepare for life after football, so that's where we step in. We've recruited some of the best organizations to host our player externs, and they are fully committed to immersing participants in the business world."
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Will Allen has previously taken part in the Externship program and is returning this year. He explained the program, stating, "The NFLPA Externship gives players a great opportunity not only to network but to learn about business and life outside of football.
"It exposes us to a new arena that we wouldn't otherwise have," Allen continued. "You get to bond with guys from other teams and meet interesting people that are doing wonderful things in business. It makes it worth it missing those three weeks away from your family and friends."
The Externship will cover topics such as market data analysis, hospitality, communications, health and safety innovation, sales, legislative processes, and networking. The NFLPA will also provide instruction in professional development and advice on job interviews and resume building.
The program will conclude on March 4.