Catching Up with Former Player Rep: Mark Collins
We caught up with former NFL cornerback, Mark Collins. Mark played in the NFL for 13 seasons between the Giants, Chiefs, Packers and Seahawks. The two-time Super Bowl champion shared what it was like being in the league, his experience as a NFLPA Player Rep and what he is up to now.
What is your current career & what is your favorite part about your job and why?
I really enjoy watching my sons play college football; one is graduating from Towson University and the other is attending Coffeyville Community College. As a father, seeing my sons out there enjoying the game of football is honestly what makes me happy. Also, spending quality time with my daughters as we engage in shopping activities. I have been really living and enjoying my life and it is even more fun due to the fact my kids still want to hang with me. Overall, my kids keep me going and are keeping me young which is what makes me happy.
What was transition like from football into your current career?
My transition from football was excellent because I am very good at compartmentalizing any situation. Once I am done with something I’m done, and I move on. Once I retired from football, I did TV and radio station work and during the end of my football career I invested in sporting goods stores and had fast food restaurants such as Checkers. Once it came to the end of my career, I was done and there was nothing else to go back to and I moved on. That chapter ended for me and since then things have been great. One thing about professional sports, specifically football, is that we come by so many people that are life changers. If you represent yourself the right way, you can use those connections to move yourself forward to do what it is that you want to do. The key here is that you must be willing to listen to others and take their advice, especially business advice in my opinion. I took business classes, and I am a communications major, but the business side is more crucial when it comes to entrepreneur skills. While playing the game, I still used those connections to my advantage and those connections are still my friends today which is paramount.
How Important is networking while you are in the league?
Networking never stops. People want to use you so you must think of yourself as an entity and a commodity to use them as well. I have been retired for 22 years and I am still getting invited to various events. I am a nice person, I have won two Super Bowls and played 13 years in the NFL which is all an added value for companies.
Do you have any advice for those currently playing trying to figure out their next career step or debating on retirement?
Just take it one day at a time. After every bad game everyone wants to quit and after a bad year everyone wants to retire but the truth is you belong there. Always plan while playing because you never know how fast your future may come. When playing, various things are out of your control such as injuries, free agency etc. so always plan ahead.
What is the biggest lesson you took away from football? And how you apply it to your current career?
The biggest lesson is that I never took things as serious. In the sense of I took everything as it came to me. Once I took in everything that came with the game of football I embraced it, respected the game and everything else came easy for me. One thing that sports has taught me is to never hold on to anything you have no control over. You must enjoy it while you have it because once it is over it’s done. At the age of 58, I am here to tell you that it gets greater later if you do the right thing.
What is one piece of advice you wish you had known during your transition that you know now?
One piece of advice I have is that the sooner you learn that this is a business the better off you are in life. I mention this line to all of teams during the rookie draft class I have had the opportunity to speak to. There is a business element that you must understand and is a hard truth, but you must be able to process it to really understand.
How has the journey been for you while being a Player Rep?
My experience as a Player Rep was great! I was the player rep on every team I played on (except Green Bay because I signed with them in week 8 of the season. I have been a player rep 12 of my 13 years.
How has being a player rep impacted you personally & professionally?
I believe being a Player Rep enhanced my life as a player and personally. I was 1 of 8 guys who were apart of the McNeil Case (now the White Settlement). The guys knew I was in it for them and it made me proud that they voted me to be their rep.
What are you most proud of during your time as a Player Rep?
During my time, I am the proudest of being a player rep because my rank and file trusted me to give them the facts of all league issues. That trust was like gold in my eyes.