NFLPA Announces Offseason Career Externships For 2018

After 22 consecutive weeks with NFL games (preseason, regular season and post season), the first weekend sans football is an adjustment for fans around the nation. For some, the offseason has been longer than others, but after a season in the trenches players are taking much-deserved vacations. After taking some time to rest and recover, a number of players are swapping their pads and cleats for briefcases and notebooks during the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) Externship program.

This year’s NFLPA Externship is the program’s fifth installment and includes 41 players starting in positions at 20 distinguished organizations. In terms of post-playing career transition preparation, the NFLPA has truly established a precedent for its counterparts in the MLB, NBA and NHL. The program, run by the NFLPA’s Player Affairs department, is “designed to assist players in realizing their potential and value beyond football through gainful, real-world experience.”

As has been the case the past few years, the NFLPA had another record year for the number of applications for the Externship program. This winter, 110 players (current or transitioning) applied for the program. Although the NFLPA would love to accept every applicant, there is a limited number of spots with the available organizations. The 41 participants in this year’s class were matched with businesses and industries that best fit their interests and career goals.

There are nine new organizations hosting externs this year including: Catapult, Complex, International Justice Mission (IJM), Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), The Players’ Tribune, StubHub, University of Georgia athletic department, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and WHOOP. Returning companies include: Capitol Hill, ESPN 980, Events DC, Fanatics, NBC Sports Washington, NFLPA, The Trust, Under Armour, United Way and the University of Maryland athletic department.

This year’s class represents 20 NFL teams with active players, 10 free agents and two former players. New York Jets linebacker Demario Davis also participated in the Externship program last year working with United Way. This year, he will be returning to the DC-area and working with United Way once again. The three-week program (February 12 – March 2) begins and ends with a professional development seminar at the NFLPA in which participants receive advice for job interviews, building a brand and crafting resumes.

Other players associations should take note for what the NFLPA and The Trust are doing in terms of second career preparation for their athletes. While the average career length of professional athletes varies from sport to sport, it typically hovers around 3.5 years. With proper preparation and planning, athletes can find what their passion is and have an idea of what their next step will be.

For the full list of 2018 NFLPA Externship participants, check out the press release on the NFLPA’s website here.