Catching Up with Former Player Rep: Brandon Marshall
Former NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall spent 13 seasons with the Broncos, Dolphins, Bears, Jets, Giants, Seahawks, and Saints. He played his collegiate career at the University of Central Florida and was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 2006 draft. He is a 6-time Pro Bowl selection, a 2-time All-Pro selection, and a 2015 NFL Receptions Record Co-Leader. We caught up with Brandon and he gave us insight into his life during and after football.
What is Brandon doing now in his career?
My current career, the way I would describe it, is as an entrepreneur and in venture. I’d say that because people that know me and follow me now, they know of House of Athlete or Lifestyle Wellness brand and I Am Athlete is where were telling the athletes stories in its purest form. People always think that I am in the media and wellness aspects, but what I have learned is that I am in the venture world and as a CEO in this space and what we're doing there are three things that I focus on daily outside of creating content. Those three things are building a team, setting a strategy, and keeping the company funded. It's interesting in transition where you learn new things and work on things that are not working within the company. Recently one of those things for me is that I have been spending so much time on the product and not enough time on making sure our company is in a position to scale.
What is your favorite part of your job and why?
I am more of a product/brand individual, and I would rather spend that time building the brand and the team. Part of the team I enjoy most is more of the culture side of things. I walk in every single day as if I am a coach or general manager, sometimes I wear different hats thrown at me. I lean into my experience as a player and watched how some of our owners led in a positive or negative way, the same for players, coaches, and general managers. I really enjoy that aspect of things, but I am really into the brand creating product and looking at what is upcoming being innovative and disruptive.
What was your experience like as a Player Rep?
Being a Player Rep creates a different bond. It is the same feeling of being in the locker room and sharing that same logo/same helmet, and as a Player Rep you are sitting around with like-minded individuals who are selfless and fighters for the right things for our game. You have these conversations and build things that you will always remember, it is a special bond and fraternity. You build relationships with people that you will always lean on and know post-career. There are some guys I still talk to and have conversations with to this day.
How has being a Player Rep impacted you personally and professionally?
Being a rep has made me more selfless. Understanding that the decisions we make today are going to affect us tomorrow; meaning a guy could be in year 2 or 3 and in year 7 or 8 there could be an agreement in place that could really hurt him as a player and the next generation. We are supposed to leave the game better, the owners have that mindset and players need to do the same. We have done an excellent job, but I would like to see more of our guys, especially superstar guys, more involved.
What are you most proud of during your time as a Player Rep?
I think while being a Player Rep I am proud of being the spice in the room. I am so unapologetic, and it’s needed, you must find the balance. We have so many men in the room, and they are going to sit back and process things and being more calculated. I played the game going off my gut instincts and what I really believed in and stand on. This is me just being myself and not afraid to say what I honestly believe, how I feel about the game, and how I feel about the owners. Others are afraid to stand up against the bigger side and say that those thirty-two owners are powerful.
What was your transition from football into your current career?
It was seamless because I did not wait. That was a battle because some of my teammates and coaches/organization did not understand why I wanted to lean into television on my off day and did not understand why I needed an office. They all wanted me to focus solely on football and I totally disagreed with them. Today, you see so many athletes with their own family office, own funds, and being active on the broadcast side while they are still playing the game. I think the goal for an athlete is to always put the game first and make sure you are playing at an elevated level. If you are going to do these things and if you can do them, you absolutely need to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of having 70,000 people cheering for us live, then the other 3-4 million watching us at home on YouTube. Those key questions are who you are, what you are communicating, what are you pitching, and what are you selling. Questions like those are huge opportunities for us to push our brands forward to the next level.
Do you have any advice for those currently playing and trying to figure out their next career step or debating retirement?
I have a few things, the advice I would give is to lean into your passion, do not do it because it is making a lot of money. I am doing what I love. In 2014, I put a case study together to push to one thing which is mental health just like the stories were told on the broadcast side of the platform. House of Athlete was created to help people unlock their full potential holistically, so everything pushes towards this one thing. Do not chase the money, go chase your passion and purpose first. There is a delicate dance that you have to do meaning you have to shadow to learn things, having to read if you haven’t gone to school for some particular things, and start to implement at the right time because if you wait too late people may not pick up your call and that’s the reality. When I was playing for the Bears, Jets, and Giants I knew people would pick up the Brandon Marshall phone call because they love those organizations. So, we must leverage and not wait until it's too late, which is the most important thing to understand. Have a plan because we have money, that does not mean it is going to be successful, but we must have operators and understand how to run a business. It is extremely challenging; I have made a lot of mistakes and it has been tough. But I know football has given me perseverance, football has given me a work ethic, teamwork traits, and the tools that you cannot get anywhere else, and I am using those same things now in business.
What is the biggest lesson you took away from the game and how did you apply it to your current career now?
The traits and skills that you can pick up from playing in that environment and being in that environment that you cannot get anywhere else. Perseverance: we lost more than we won and that’s life and the business world. You get up every single day and you must try to be your best self today and tomorrow. It does not matter if you dropped the ball or if you scored a touchdown. I approach success and failure the same way; they are both distractions. Football has taught me some amazing things that I am still using now.
What is one piece of advice you wish you had known during your transition?
I would say you do not have to go so fast. I tried to take on everything all at once, such as taking on various shows on YouTube in various locations around the world in 5 years. You must have benchmarks in place that tell you or trigger you to go to the next thing. For me, I am an activator who is willing to learn as they go and I have made some mistakes and wasted some money by going too fast, which is honestly my biggest lesson