Catching Up with Former Reps: Mike Schneck
Former NFL long snapper Mike Schneck spent 11 seasons with the Steelers, Bills, and Falcons. He began his collegiate career at University of Wisconsin where he was a member of the Badgers 1999 Rose Bowl championship team. Schneck was selected to his first Pro Bowl in 2005 and retired from the league in 2010. We caught up with Mike where he gave us insight into his life during and after football.
What is your current career?
We have an investment management firm. Primarily working with pensions and labor unions.
How would you describe your experience leaving the game?
Sort of mixed I guess. I was always trying to prepare for the inevitable end. I worked a lot of the off seasons being employed by PNC Bank. I got my securities licenses through them and eventually spent some time with a few real estate development firms to obtain my real estate license. I had built up a good network and some options that would help prepare me for what I’m doing now. Once you get out and start working nothing can really prepare you for that. There’s a learning curve that takes a little time to get your feet underneath you. I think I was a little surprised the multiple years it takes to catch up to speed with everybody else that’s been doing this their whole career.
What are you most proud of during your time as a player rep?
Giving guys information whether it was regarding their retirement benefits or signing up for their 401K. There were times where we had some issues with injuries and being able to guide guys on the right path. I believe that it worked out, the advice I would give to them. Just being able to help the guys because for a lot of them this was just not stuff they ever thought about. They’re focused on playing football. As a player rep, that’s our job to have that information for them so when they come to us we’re able to give them that information and guide them. The right information so that they can make the right decisions for themselves.
How has being a player rep impacted you personally & professionally?
A great deal. Personally, it’s a position of leadership and people look to you to guide them. I’ in that position with the investment firm and I also share a non-profit. It’s being in that position and gaining that experience in front of NFL guys where everybody’s got their opinion. Having your own strong opinion and being able to step in front of those guys is an invaluable experience. Professionally, while I never expected this, but I do work with a lot of labor unions and building trades. Having that background has helped me out a great deal. I didn’t fully understand the union world and how it exist in the United States. But having a little bit of experience has helped me a great deal in getting up to speed and making a lot of relationships in the world I work in now.
What advice would you give to yourself looking back?
I probably would’ve gotten myself involved in some other lines of business and expanded my network. That’s one of the biggest things we have as professional athletes is our ability to open doors and get ourselves involved in different things. While I think I did a good job in certain lines in the investment world and some real estate things. I think I could’ve really broadened the folks that I could’ve gotten connected to and developed relationships to. In the grand scheme of things, I think I have a pretty big network, but I could’ve been more diversified and gotten myself involved in other companies because of being a professional athlete.
Have you taken advantage of any of the services of the PA since retirement?
I’ve been involved with the Trust. I went up to the Cleveland Clinic and went through their evaluations. We’re very fortunate that Charlie Batch is a Steeler alum and Mark Bruener as well who are both very involved in the Union. I’ve been very fortunate having those guys as teammates who are still very active and knowledgeable. They were very helpful as advisors when I was a rep but also now that I’m retired with keeping us updated with what’s available for us.
For my family, it’s seeing my kids develop, getting into high school/ college, and seeing where that goes. Professionally, I’m at a point now where I’m really driving the company and I think we’re getting ourselves into some unique opportunities. Seeing those come to fruition is very exciting. Also leveraging a lot of my network into some other business opportunities because of the relationships I have that I can leverage. Exponentially, it’s more or less the same.