How Football Has Prepared Eugene Monroe for Life After Retirement

On the 21st of July at the age of 29-years old, Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Eugene Monroe has decided to walk away from the game of football and choose retirement. After starting 90 of the 93 games he played since being drafted No. 8 overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2009, Monroe is walking away on his own terms—and not one person can fault him for that.

Outspoken in regard to his feelings and beliefs about concussions and the use of medical marijuana to help stop opioid overuse in the NFL, Monroe came to peace about what he has accomplished in 18 years of playing the game at multiple levels, and you should applaud him.

In an article published through The Players Tribune Monroe stated, “Today, I am making my exit from the game of football. I’m leaving the sport I love — the sport that has consumed my existence for the last 18 years — to start a new life. I’m nervous, but I feel like I’m ready for whatever comes next. I have three beautiful children and an amazing wife, and they will be with me as I take these next steps.”

He continued, “I’m only 29 and I still have the physical ability to play at a very high level, so I know that my decision to retire may be puzzling to some. But I am thinking of my family first right now — and my health and my future.”

As Monroe embarks on the career transition story we talk about so often on this website, he will likely experience missing the feeling of camaraderie so many athletes document missing.

He acknowledged this in his article as well, stating, “I’ve heard former players talk about missing the intimacy of going into battle with 52 other men on a daily basis — from training camp through the end of the regular season — and about missing the camaraderie of the locker room. Those kinds of things mean the most to me.”

While Monroe will miss being part of a team and going to battle with his teammates, it seems like he has something to help smooth that transition—a passion off the field. Sure, his advocacy for medical marijuana research is directly tied to the impacts of CTE on football players, but what he is going to fight for can impact concussion research and treatment in other sports as well.

Most importantly for Monroe’s career transition, he has recognized key elements of the sport he played and how those elements will help him translate to a career after football.

In the article Monroe stated, “The game of football has helped me to know what it takes to set objectives, to know how to work tirelessly to achieve them and to push through any obstacle no matter how insurmountable it may seem. For all my anxiety, I’m actually excited for what the future holds because I feel prepared for it. Even though my football career is over, I plan to continue to be a vocal advocate for medical marijuana research, particularly as it relates to CTE. More steps need to be taken to curb the overuse of opioids in NFL locker rooms, and I won’t rest until something is done.”

Setting objectives, working tirelessly to achieve them and pushing through any obstacle no matter how insurmountable it may seem—those are like traits any organization would love to have in an employee. And Monroe, just like all of you, acquired those traits by playing sports.

Athletes everywhere can learn from Monroe’s post-football plan and how he plans to use the traits he developed in sports to be successful in his next endeavor. If you are scared or unsure of what comes next, all you need to do is fall back on what you learned through your years of playing. Because of this, you will have the beginning of a roadmap to success in your career after sports.

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