By Fred L. Jones, Jr.

Staff Writer


The Player Networking Event (PNE) 2017 provided insight and educational directives to both current and former retired National Football League (NFL) Athletes. This year’s PNE had over 150 registered participants and 30 vendors presenting opportunities and concepts for productive business models and investment opportunities along with entrepreneurs from several different business backgrounds.

PNE 2017 was opened by PNE CEO Guy Troupe who stated to a capacity crowd, in his opening, “Today we hope to help you increase your wealth in some shape, form or fashion.”

This year’s PNE also presented very informative insight panels, one which consisted of six different retired NFL players which was entitled “Ballers, Bankers and Business Panel” headed by former Detroit Lion Jerry Ball who has been involved also with Athletes transitioning to from the NFL to a regular life, which is not always an easy transition. Ball stated, “I think that from and intellectual and goodwill stand point the one thing that we all can do (NFL Players) whether we are a hall of famers or a guy that just made the team is that we all have good will and that good will can be leveraged with all the good business that may present itself to you.”

Many times, in professional athlete’s lives there are opportunities to maximize his or her brand to benefit themselves monetarily, as well as socially, and being able to leverage themselves in a positive way with entities that will create vast income streams that will solidify their transition to life after the game.

The second panel consisted of PNE title sponsor Toyota Corporate USA and presented the PNE attendees with opportunities to learn about the automotive industry with an emphasis on dealership ownership and brand marketing for NFL Players. Mia Phillips from Toyota North America stated, “Toyota has a couple of pillars to the brand and as an individual responsible for branding our brand marketing strategies, sports is certainly presents itself as one of those brands, outside of music there is no passion that unites people like sports. A second pillar is multi-cultural athletes of the current NLF is sixty percent African American players. In the next thirty years’ multicultural people will outnumber non-multicultural people so that will play a very important roll in what happens in the United States.”

The PNE 2017 continued in its rich tradition of empowering professional athletes as they enter the NFL, maintain their player status in the NFL and the transition into life when the playbook closes. PNE CEO Guy Troupe stated, “The industry of football is a four years in high school, four years in college and four years at the professional level, each year over 400,000 high school athletes get displaced, 15,000 college athletes get displaced in the NFL, it’s an industry that churns athletes out, so those of you that are here continue to network and get out your comfort zone with these and other corporate entities that present themselves to you.”

Only the best of the best can secure one of approximately 2,000 jobs as a player in NFL each year. Lucrative salaries, national exposure and access to influential people are part and parcel to the high risk, high reward environment that is professional football.

Then the cheering stops and approximately 300 elite football players are forced to retire from the NFL each year. Studies estimate that there are approximately 28,000 former NFL players living today.  The NFL has committed millions of dollars towards player transition. PNE is a small part of the puzzle—showcasing player-owned businesses, franchising, branding, mentoring and networking opportunities for active and former NFL players.

The PNE 2018 is scheduled for February 28, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minn., for Super Bowl LII. For more visit


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