Entrepreneur

What Do NFL Players Do When They Leave the Game? Increasingly, They Open a Franchise. Here's Why.

Franchisees thrive on the same skills pro athletes learn: speed, versatility and great coaching.
Source: Rafa Alvarez
Rafa Alvarez

It’s hard enough to squeeze a dozen people into the prep room of a sub shop. 

It’s even tougher if they’re all NFL players. 

But that’s who’s wedged between the refrigerator, the bread oven, the meat slicer and cartons of ingredients in the back of a Jersey Mike’s in a strip mall on the fringes of Ann Arbor, Mich., just after the lunch rush. The men are students at the NFL Business Academy -- a program, run out of the University of Michigan’s Stephen Ross School of Business, that teaches franchising and entrepreneurship to help prepare players for the often rocky transition to life after pro football.

Related: The 7 Cheapest Franchises on the Entrepreneur Franchise 500 List

“A lot of players have been led to believe that all they can do is play football,” says Indianapolis Colts nose tackle Joey Mbu, one of the men packed into the tiny space. “We don’t want that to be us.”

Standing before them is Peter Shipman, Jersey Mike’s area director for Michigan, northern Indiana, and northwest Ohio. The men nod as Shipman walks them through the ins and outs of every facet of the business, from sandwich making to customer service, before ending on an inspirational note. “All I can say to you guys is, don’t the unknown. You can adjust; you can adapt. You guys

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur3 min read
This Franchisee Ditched a High-Powered Corporate Career to Run Her Own Cycling Studios
Lisa Locker spent decades climbing the corporate ladder. But as a CycleBar franchisee, she's found a whole new challenge.
Entrepreneur2 min readTech
How to Find the Right Payment System
In a mobile economy, being able to simply process credit cards is no longer enough. Here's what to look for as you search for a payment-system provider.
Entrepreneur3 min readTech
How Much Should You Spend on Social Media Marketing?
It's a valuable tool, but don't forget about these other (sometimes free!) ways to reach your clients.