Catching Up with Former Reps: Kendall Simmons
Former NFL guard Kendall Simmons spent 8 seasons with the Steelers, Bills, and Patriots. He began his collegiate career at Auburn where he was a two time first team All-SEC. Simmons retired as a two time Super Bowl winning champion and now works as a diabetes ambassador for Pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk. We caught up with Kendall where he gave us insight into his life during and after football.
What is your current career?
I’m a diabetes patient ambassador for Novo Nordisk as well as a Dexcom Warrior for the company Dexcom.
How would you describe your experience leaving the game?
The experience leaving the game to be honest was difficult in the beginning because there’s a lot of guys think they’re going to go and end on their own terms, but it doesn’t always happen that way. I was blessed with having the opportunity when Nova Nordisk came in almost a year later and asked me to be a speaker for them. I looked into coaching but didn’t want to get right into that just yet.
What are you most proud of during your time as a player rep?
The one thing I’m most proud of is having the opportunity to learn as much I could about the game on the other side of the fence. There’s so much going on that we as players don’t realize. The satisfaction of being able to speak to my teammates and being a backup for them if they had any questions.
How has being a player rep impacted you personally & professionally?
A big proponent for me and my wife was always ensuring that you do your research and learn as much as you can about what you’re going into. There’s always more to it than you realize. Being a player rep, you learn a lot about how the game works and what you need to know and be prepared for. Being a diabetes ambassador is something that I didn’t know much about it. Now I can see the clinical and motivational side, being a player rep prepared me for knowing that there’s always more to it.
What advice would you give to yourself looking back?
The main thing I would do is to tell myself to do a better job of taking care of my body maintenance wise. Become more of a student of the game and set yourself up for when you’re done. Have a general plan of what you want to do. Don’t go into retirement blind because you never know when it’s going to come. It came suddenly for me and I really didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. Luckily, I had somebody ask me to come join the company and speak for them. I’d probably still be floating right now if I didn’t have that opportunity. So, I would tell myself to do as much networking as I possible could and really hone in on what your purpose is outside of being a football player. Take advantage of the people that’re around.
Have you taken advantage of any of the services of the PA since retirement?
I went to see the business symposium.
They’ve definitely been beneficial to me going and doing the full body scan at Tulane College. That was perfect because I had a lot of underlying things going on with me both physically and emotionally that I needed to address. I encouraged some of the other guys that I knew to go and get the same type of help. I try to encourage the young guys to not think that they’re too big for something like that because we all deal with stuff that we need help with later on in life. That really helped me out.
Taking some risks in terms of getting into scouting or coaching. I feel like my purpose has been helping other people live with diabetes and I still think that’s my purpose. But it’s something that’s calling me back as far as I just want to try football again. To see if it’s really meant for me instead of just sitting here thinking and putting it off. I just want to try it and if it’s not for me I know where he has me right now. That’s helping people in the world with diabetes and I’m not ever going to stop doing that. Other than that, I’m an everyday dad.
Take my word for it, take full advantage of all the benefits that the NFLPA has for you. Look at the website, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. There’s so much there that we can get help with and majority of it is free for our benefit.