NFL Players Coached at HBS

Jerry Maguire, watch out—at least some NFL players won’t be calling anymore to say “show me the money.”

For the second year in a row, the National Football League (NFL) and Harvard Business School (HBS) have joined forces to offer NFL players the chance to expand and hone their business skills.

Today marks the final day of the three-day NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program at HBS. The NFL and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) established the program last year to help players plan for their lives following retirement.

“The mission of the departments is to promote the off-the-field development of the players,” NFLPA spokeswoman Leslie Satchell said.

“[The program] allows you to see a whole window of opportunities and then find your niche within it,” said Tank Williams of the Tennessee Titans.

The program kicked off last spring with HBS and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania hosting 66 NFL players. This year, the program welcomed roughly 120 players and has expanded to Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Over the course of the three days, HBS faculty instructed the players with the MBA’s case method.

Mizuho Financial Group Professor of Finance and former chairman of the MBA program W. Carl Kester said he developed the curriculum to best complement the players’ needs.

“We are not trying to cover the whole waterfront,” Kester said. “The program is all with the aim to enable people to take action on their ideas.”

St. Louis Rams’ guard Adam Timmerman, an 11-year veteran of the NFL, said he does not want to join the ranks of NFL players who he said go bankrupt following retirement.

Over the next month, the players will develop potential business plans on their own, which they will workshop and refine during the second module of the program from April 3-5.

The same number of players will participate in the program next year while the NFLPA sizes up how program veterans apply their HBS skills to future business ventures.

Indianapolis Colts safety Gerome Sapp said he has been approached before about business ventures and now he knows “which questions to ask.”

But for the immediate future, though, he joked that he’ll be taking advantage of his Harvard experience, complete with a trip to the COOP.

Timmerman laughed, “Do they carry XXXL tall?”

—Staff writer Madeline W. Lissner can be reached at mlissner@fas.harvard.