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Going through life, people see opportunities come and go. Sometimes you take advantage of some and let others slip by. For Troy Williamson, ex-Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars football player, he knows how it can be taken away from you, so, he’s created opportunities for himself through entrepreneurship.
BlackEnterprise.com recently caught up to Williamson to discuss his role in the Which Wich Superior Sandwiches franchise, his charity organization and having the chance to motivate people.
BlackEnterprise.com: Growing up as one of 11 children must have been challenging, did being in that position growing up shape you for gaining the attention of coaches and anyone having to do with anything sports-related? How did you manage to maintain/establish your individuality while having to ‘share’ your parents/family members?
Troy Williamson: Growing up the way I did was challenging. Not getting the attention needed as a child, never having enough food to eat and even the environment we grew up in was hard, but it kept us close as a family dealing with challenges. I never grew up wanting to play football or even go to college I was just a youth growing up – no plans, no goals, nothing. Sharing was something that we always had to do. From clothes to shoes to food, that was something we learned early in age.
Why did you decide to take up football growing up?
I kind of fell into football. When I was 12, I had a 14 year old brother that died in a car accident. He and some friends stole the car and wrecked it and he died as a result. After that, my mom made some decisions for me to move me out of the house with her and in with my godfather. That was the best thing for me because he got me involved in church, track and football.
Although, because of injuries, you were only able to play 5 years in the NFL, how has that experience of playing a sport help you in your business aspirations?
Well, it has taught me a lot about opportunities and how fast they can be taken away so I use that in my everyday business when it comes to Which Wich, my foundation, Fighting Against the ODDS, or my motivational speaking company Mindful Motivations. To make decisions to do right and run my businesses right.
You started an organization, Fighting Against the O.D.D.S. Foundation, what was the reason for doing so and what is the focus of the foundation you started?
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