Catching Up with Former Player Rep: Desmond Bryant
We caught up with former NFLPA Player Representative, Desmond Bryant. Desmond was a member of the Raiders and Browns. We spoke about his career, what he learned when he was a Player Rep, and his experience playing Ivy League football and making it to the league.
What is your career now?
I’m working in real estate development. We acquire multi-family homes, mostly based in Atlanta and we are starting to extend to Los Angeles. One of the things that I like about real estate as an investment and also an industry to be working in, is that you get tangible assets. The company that I work for specializes in co-living spaces which is a relatively new concept in real estate. Essentially it is shared living spaces, in which each room within the apartment is rented out to individuals. By doing that, we can lower costs, and it is more affordable for individuals.
Also, at the end of 2019, Lamarr Houston and I started an Angel investing group. We created this group where he and I are going out and searching for different deals in conjunction with our respective financial advising teams and then sharing that knowledge and opportunities we gather with other players and athletes that are interested in getting involved.
What was your experience like when you were deciding to leave the game?
In my eighth season, I suffered a season ending pec tendon tear. It was the first time I have ever suffered a season ending surgery, but it was also my third surgery in four years. I did the rehab, took my time to come back, but once things didn’t work out with the Browns, I realized it was my time to move on. I tell people all the time, “the thing about the NFL is that as you get older, the people around you stay that 22/23-year-old right out of college age”, so I knew it was my time.
What was it like being a Player Rep?
Being a Player Rep is important because it gives us a voice. I think as a player, that’s the loudest voice we have. I really relished the opportunity to speak on behalf of players, go around the locker room and engage with ideas that players had, and then present them at the appropriate time.
Do you think the skills you learned as a Player Rep helps you in your career today?
Absolutely. It is a very similar process. The group that I work with works with several different lending partners, so whenever we have a property or a project we are looking at, we have to go and sit in front of people from all of these different teams and present on why we think this is a good idea and show them how it will be helpful. You learn to listen as a Player Rep and in my business, it’s important we listen to other ideas too.
Do you use any of the NFLPA services that we have to offer?
I went to the Super Bowl in Miami and joined quite a few of those events. I am also involved with The Trust. I know when we were playing, there was a lot of talk about being in that social community and being more active. I think if we are able to come together, network, put our minds together, it would be something that I would love to get involved in more.
Can you talk about your experience playing at Harvard?
Once I got to familiarize myself with the program, I realized that this was a very lucrative program. We had a very rigorous schedule year-round. Harvard mimicked what all the BCS schools were doing. The difference was that it is only a 10-week schedule and always ended before Thanksgiving. The thing that is great about the Ivy League is that you can still make connections off the field. I have been doing business deals with players from other Ivy League schools that I met while I was playing. I didn’t have that big of a network once I got in the NFL, but looking at it today, I am still able to utilize the connections that I made in the Ivy League and do business deals.
Do you have any other hobbies?
Yes, ATVing. I grew up doing it all the time and in the past couple of years, I have gotten back into it. I live in Florida now and there are some great places to ride so I try to do that as much as possible. It’s fun because I get some of that adrenaline I lost when I stopped playing football. ATVing still gives me a rush and I enjoy it a lot.