Both on the field and off, Roman Oben has always been the ultimate professional.
With his experience as an NFLPA player rep for three different NFL teams, the man knows what he’s talking about when it comes to the life of a pro athlete.
And I’m thankful that he was willing to share his thoughts about your chances of making the NFL.
I mean, who better to learn from, than someone who’s “been there and done that?”
Let’s get into it.
As a third round pick in the 1996 NFL Draft out of the University of Louisville, Roman went on to play over 12 years in the NFL.
Making stops with the New York Giants, Browns, Buccaneers and Chargers, he started in over ninety percent of the games he’s played in.
He even won a Super Bowl while he was with the Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII.
Roman made a successful transition to broadcasting after he retired from the league in 2008.
Nowadays, you can find him co-hosting New York Giants shows on the MSG network, and handling color analyst duties at the MSG Varsity high school sports network.
With his experience, I was thankful that he was willing to share some wisdom with the five people that read this blog.
ALVIN: Roman, a lot of NFL players aspire to making a transition to broadcasting. But making that transition is often easier said than done.
You were able to make that transition, though.
For other players that aspire to do that, what advice would you give them?
ROMAN: I would tell them to do as much local media as possible, even if it’s high school games.
Also, take advantage of your current connections.
Leverage your relationships from your college team, the NFL team (or teams) that you played with, as well as the relationships you have with people in the city that you happen to currently reside in.
The network jobs are very limited; so if you build good relationships and show people you are willing to work, the rest will take care of itself.
ALVIN: Makes sense. I’d bet most guys that aspire to get on that side of the game didn’t even know that.
Lemme ask you this… Let’s say someone reading this interview aspires to play professionally one day…
What advice would you give them?
ROMAN: A lot of things have to go right for you to be in the NFL.
Number one, you have to be good enough.
Being the best player in college football at your position doesn’t always guarantee you that you’ll make it.
Number two, you have to stay healthy.
Number three, you have to have realistic expectations.
You have to realize that playing in the the NFL is an opportunity, and not a career.
…and you never know how long the opportunity will last.
ALVIN: What advice would you give to someone who aspires to play pro, other than just “be a great player?”
What habits, ways of thinking, etc., should an aspiring pro player have to increase their chances of accomplishing that dream?
ROMAN: Isn’t that the same question that you just asked, basically? (laughs)
ALVIN: (laughs) Dang, I think you’re right. My bad!
ROMAN: The only thing I would add, is that it shouldn’t be an expectation until it’s a reality.
For example, just because you’re All-SEC as a freshman, or just because you’re getting interest from NFL scouts as a junior, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a lock for playing in the NFL.
ALVIN: What advice would you give to a player to help them get prepared for that dreadful day when they
have to hang up the cleats, whether their last snap is in high school, college, or the pros?
ROMAN: Well first, players must understand that football is a vehicle, and it’s not a means to an end.
Whether that vehicle gets you financial stability, free (or reduced) college tuition, or just the experience of being a part of a team and setting goals, you have to be appreciative of what you learned from the game, and not be consumed by it.
Don’t let football be your sole identity. THEN when it’s over, whenever that moment is, the transition will be much easier..
ALVIN: Everybody’s talking about the high percentage of NFL players that end up broke, divorced, etc.
With your experience as an NFLPA team rep during your playing career, and being a charter member of the NFLPA
Benefits Committee, I’m sure you have some wisdom to share.
ROMAN: Well, it’s a multi-layered problem. The more prepared players are in regards to proper financial education, the better.
That alone will reduce the percentage of guys who have financial issues after the NFL.
ALVIN: If you could sit down with every single NFL rookie, and share insight on the three most common pitfalls to avoid being in the NFL, what would you tell them?
ROMAN: One, poorly managed relationships (women, family, and “homeboys”).
Two, poor financial choices.
Three, overall mental health (see a career counselor at least once a quarter).
ALVIN: Wow, good stuff. Well I appreciate your time, my man. Thanks for droppin’ some knowledge for our readers.
ROMAN: Not a problem.