Catching Up with Former Player Rep: Chad Rinehart
We spoke to former NFLPA Player Rep, Chad Rinehart, about his career in the NFL, the experience he had being a Player Rep, and how he has brought over the skills he gained during his time in the league into his career today.
What are you up to nowadays in your career?
I live in Cedar Falls, Iowa. I am an assistant athletic director and an assistant strength and conditioning coach for a local high school. I also enjoy outdoor recreation. Whether it be hiking, biking, boating, fishing, I enjoy it all. I am also a dad. I have a 5-year-old, 3-year-old, and two-month-old, so spending time with my children as well.
What’s it like working with high school athletics?
We are a pretty successful high school, and we have great participation. We are one of the schools with the most participation in Iowa. Students who don’t play too many traditional sports are able to find their niche and continue to participate in athletics. It’s nice to be involved in some aspect of it. As far as the day-to-day goes for me, it’s more organization and helping coaches with their teams.
What was the most fulfilling moment throughout your playing career?
I would say my sixth year when I was in San Diego. During that year, I was finally able to make the playoffs and win a playoff game. Not being able to sniff the playoffs for my first five years you really learn to appreciate it. Some of my teammates played in the playoffs for many years. A few of them had the opportunity to play in multiple Super Bowls. Then you have Hall of Fame guys that never make the playoffs. When I made the playoffs, I didn’t take it for granted. Having that successful season was very fulfilling.
What was it like being a Player Rep?
I guess having teammates involved. Making sure they are using their benefits and understanding their benefits. A lot of it is managing misinformation you hear on the media. You read a lot of unfortunate articles or see all the things on the news and that doesn’t match up to the reality of the situation. Trying to disseminate accurate information to the players was a big responsibility.
Do you think the skills you have learned during your days as a Player Rep and player apply to your career today?
One of the biggest things I learned was having experience from all different kinds of people from different backgrounds and cultures. You grow up thinking your way is the way to be successful and then you realize there are multiple ways to be successful. Different methods work for different people. Not only that, but it’s also dealing with different people and what motivates them. You realize you aren’t going to make everyone happy but hopefully they can understand where you are coming from.
Have you used any of the services that the PA has to offer?
I went to the inaugural leadership conference in northern Virginia. That was awesome. It was great for me to analyze my thinking on certain things, and it really sunk into me to have a thought process, trust the thought process, but at the same time, sit back, reflect, and look to make improvements on my thought process and decision making. I’ve done the coaches convention down in San Antonio. I was getting interested in potentially becoming a college coach, so I went to that. I also just got done with the business summit as well. I am certainly utilizing ways to enhance my education and expanding my skillset.
What’s one piece of advice you would give yourself now looking back on your days playing?
Invest in the process. Each player has a unique skillset that they utilize. They learn it in college so enhancing the process, not trying to change too many things as a rookie. Continue to work on your skillset each year. I wish I would have done a better job in talking to the veterans on the team. The guys that are the first ones in and the last ones to leave. Overall, learning earlier what it takes to be a pro and buying into what it means to be a pro earlier on.
What are some hobbies you like to do?
I love being outdoors. About two years ago, I started taking my health more serious. Each morning or night, I walk 4-6 miles. I bike with my neighbor once a week, 10 miles or more. On the weekends, I have a place on the Mississippi River, so I enjoy getting my family up there. We boat, swim, and hangout on the beach. Anything outdoors I can do, I enjoy doing.
Any final thoughts on players considering retirement?
Take advantage of the connections you can make as a current player. Try to job shadow for a day or intern for a couple of weeks at a company during the offseason. Really utilize those connections. On top of that, spend your offseason where you think you want to be, then decide if it’s right for you. The main thing is to develop a plan and lightly test it as you continue to play.