Brandon Copeland: #AthleteAnd Finance Professor


Brandon Parker

Each summer, in the days leading up to his annual youth football camp, Brandon Copeland makes a trip to Wal-Mart.

There, he buys a long sheet of brown paper and creates a timeline spanning 85 years. Between years 21 and 24.5, the New England Patriots linebacker blacks out the area with spray paint. As the day’s activities come to a close, Copeland unravels the large paper for all of the campers to examine before explaining the purpose behind the picture.

“When they see that long lifespan and then those three and a half years blacked out as the average career for an NFL player, they realize there’s a lot of life left to live after football,” said Copeland, who is entering his eight NFL season. “After this game is done with me, I can’t just be sitting on my hands, wishing I could play football. We have a beautiful platform. How do you use it to set you up for the next phase of life?”

Brandon Copeland talks with students in his "Life 101" class at the University of Pennsylvania. Photo by Rian Watkins

True to his word, Copeland worked part-time on Wall Street with Weiss Multi Strategy Advisers during the 2017 offseason and now owns two real estate companies. The charitable efforts of his Beyond the Basics Foundation earned him the 2020 NFLPA Alan Page Community Award. And if that wasn’t enough, Copeland also teaches a financial literacy class at the University of Pennsylvania, his alma mater. The course, better known as “Life 101,” provides practical knowledge about money management.

This past offseason, while the world was put on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Copeland saw another opportunity to share his evolving financial wisdom -- only this time the audience was his fellow NFL players, current and former.

Through a free five-day, five-part webinar series called “Money Talks,” Copeland offered practical tips about budgeting, investing, growing your money, time and financial management, and more. The virtual sessions built on both Copeland and the union’s missions to be a resource and support system for players, not only during the season, but throughout the calendar year.

“I’ve always thought of football as a means to an end,” the 29-year-old said. “Football got me to college. Football helped me create start-up capital for my business. Football is a blessing. I love it for what it is as well as for the access it gives me to pursue my other goals.”

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