Sept. 25, 2015
NOTE: This story appears in the Notre Dame-UMass football gameday program.
In June, a star-studded quintet comprised of former Fighting Irish standouts who have amassed over five decades of NFL experience took part in a Monogram Career Network (MCN) event with the current Notre Dame squad.
Monogram winners Steve Beuerlein (‘87), Tim Brown (‘88), Marc Edwards (‘97), John Carlson (‘07) and Manti Te’o (‘13) spoke about their Notre Dame experience, playing in the NFL and about life after football.
The discussion aligned with the goals of MCN, which seeks to connect current Notre Dame student-athletes with alums who can help with career mentoring and development.
Here are some of the remarks from the distinguished panel…
17 NFL seasons
“I came to Notre Dame with big expectations, football wise, but I really came here because of what Notre Dame stood for. I knew the value of a Notre Dame education was going to be able to open up a lot of doors when my playing career was over, and it has.”
“The reason I was able to play so long wasn’t because I was one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, it was because I always had a coach who wanted me on the team. They wanted my presence, my leadership and the way I carried myself. They knew they could count on me. They knew I was going to be prepared and make good decisions off the field.”
17 NFL seasons, Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2016, 1987 Heisman Trophy winner
“I came to Notre Dame with one goal in mind and that was to graduate in four years. I didn’t have any dreams about playing in the NFL.”
“Probably the worst thing of my NFL career ended up being the best thing. I tore my knee up the opening game of my second year and missed the whole season. The doctor told me it was a pretty bad injury and they didn’t know if football would be in my future.
“I remember being at the hospital that night and I had my Notre Dame class ring on. I took it off before surgery and kissed it because I realized I had an opportunity at life if I couldn’t play again. I went on to play 15 years after that, but I say it was the best thing that happened because I prepared to leave the game almost every day after that. Every day I stepped on the field I thought it could be my last so I enjoyed it.”
Nine NFL seasons, Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots (2001), Monogram Club board member (2014-17)
“I came here because I knew I was going to graduate because Notre Dame took that as a priority. That was the biggest reason I came here. The life after football was going to be important.”
“During your career you get used to everyone telling you ‘yes’ and doing things for you. When I got done with the NFL and was in the business world, I started hearing ‘no’ for the first time. Those people who you’ve helped out in the past are now saying ‘no’ to you for the first time and you think, ‘what do you mean no?’ because you’ve been so used to hearing ‘yes’ your whole life.”
“I made good money in the NFL, but only two or three guys on a team make ‘retirement money’. Yes, I have a nice nest egg, retirement and all that other stuff, but you’re going to have to transition into something else after football.”
7 NFL seasons
“I came to Notre Dame first and foremost because of the academics. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get into a school like this without football and so football was my ticket.”
“Make sure you’re taking the opportunities to talk with former players and connect with those individuals because football is going to end. I recently retired from the NFL so I’m in a transition right now and trying to figure things out. It’s a little bit scary, but it’s also comforting to know that I’m part of this group of not only the Notre Dame football family, but also the greater Notre Dame family.”
Current member of the San Diego Chargers
“The NFL is great and we’re all blessed to be in that fraternity, but Notre Dame is a family.”
“Notre Dame is a global school. We can go internationally and people know us, and most schools can’t do that. As long as you take advantage of every day that you have here, Notre Dame will repay you tenfold.”