Former Minnesota Viking Stephen Weatherly Is Taking His Talents From The Football Field To The Boardroom
Most players entering the NFL only worry about post-career opportunities once they are right there. That was the case of former Minnesota Vikings Stephen Weatherly. Before a knee injury decided that for him, according to StarTribune, Weatherly participated in a program designed to help athletes build professional networks once their playing career is over, that program prepared the former defensive player for what he is doing now.
After a knee injury in 2022, doctors informed him that he was close to having to get his knee replaced to continue playing football. To him, that was a sign to pursue some business leads that had crossed his mind.
After obtaining his real estate license and selling his house, he launched his own business, Athlete Recruitment Center. It’s a one-stop recruiting shop for coaches to get information on college and high school players at the camps Weatherly is launching. Yet, he still felt like he had more to learn to have a successful business. In June 2023, the former football player attended the Institute for Athletes’ fourth annual player empowerment summit.
IFA President Blake Baratz said that he started the summit to help his clients build connections to help them better transition from player to businessman. The three-day conference allows players and business executives to learn and network with each other.
“Coming to events like this, learning how to network, learning how to convey the passion that I have in a concise way, it’s my new thing,” Weatherly said. “I’m no longer learning like 30 short plays; I’m learning how to pitch to C-suite executives.”
Since the average NFL career does not typically last up to four years, Baratz, who has been an NFL agent for nearly 20 years, has always tried to get players ready for post-NFL life after some of them make salaries up to seven figures. The Institute for Athletes’ annual player empowerment summit helps him assist others so they can have a productive business life after leaving the football field.