By Mark Eckel, Player Engagement Insider
Philadelphia Eagles guard Brandon Brooks wanted to be ready just in case this football thing didn’t quite work out as planned. Medical school? Law school? They were options he considered. Then, as he began to do some internships in the business field, he found his next calling.
Fortunately for Brooks and the Eagles those plans are for the future, as the big lineman from Milwaukee has established himself as a quality NFL guard.
Still, he’s ready for chapter two whenever that happens.
“You come into the NFL you grow up pretty quickly,’’ Brooks said. “I came from a small school (Miami (Ohio). I was fortunate, not a lot of guys were going pro. So, academics were always focused on, once I got to the NFL, I realized as good as it is, bad things can happen, too.
“So, basically I wanted to figure out what do I like to do? What am I good at it, I had to go out and figure that out.’’
It didn’t take long. After his first season with the Houston Texans in 2012, Brooks began his business internships. The first one was at M&T Bank in Houston where he learned commercial banking.
“I learned how banks function on the retail side,’’ he said. “I was involved in all different areas of the bank and basically shadowed people.’’
After his second season, he began work toward his MBA at the University of Houston, while also interning at Morgan Stanley where he dealt with private wealth.
“I worked with some high network clients, managing money and doing financial analysis for them,’’ he said. “That went well, I learned the most of what will affect me personally. Being young and coming into money playing in the league, I’m much more capable of how to invest my own money. I learned how big firms worked, the risk you’re willing to take, different portfolios, different trends in the market, I really learned a lot there.’’
A third internship was with Anderson Oil in Houston where he was on the buying side, and learned negotiations, raising funds, and putting them to use.
“It was good to be around that,’’ he said.
After he signed with the Eagles as a free agent before the 2016 season, Brooks took off that offseason. This past spring, however, he was back at it working for the city of Philadelphia’s Department of Finance, specializing in the budget committee and tax revenue.
“Pro football is such a short window, the average career is three-and-a-half years,’’ Brooks said. “Even if you play a long career, 10 to15 years, in the grand scheme of things, in the game of life, you’re still young. A lot of times guys get lost in that transition period and to a certain degree to make it to this level you do have to sacrifice a lot, you do have to focus on this game to excel. But you also have to understand the window is short. Say you retire at 33, or even 36, that’s still young.’’
Brooks, who is in his sixth NFL season, turned 27 in August. He has no idea how much longer he’ll play. But he has plans of what he’ll do when those playing days are finally over. First it will be finishing his MBA.
“I wanted my MBA, in case for whatever reason, I didn’t make it to my second contract, I could transition,’’ he said. “Now that I was blessed to be able to make it for a second one, I’ll keep interning and reading and keeping my mind sharp, but I’ll wait to finish school after I’m finished playing.’’
Brooks also sites comparisons to his current job and his future one. Football and business aren’t all that different.
“The business internship, the biggest thing that attracted me to business is that while it’s not as competitive as football, it is extremely competitive in a lot of different ways. I’ve been blessed to have this size and ability to play this game. In business, it’s who applies themselves and who grinds harder, and that’s similar to football in that aspect. In football, you can see (results) in wins and losses; in business, it’s dollars and cents.’’