"Keepin' It Real"


Former NFL star Troy Vincent and Adolpho Smith, both NFL executives in charge of labor policy and player development, spoke to USC's football team about the harsh truths of making it in the NFL and focusing on their college experience.

"You cannot leave this university without your degree," stressed Vincent, who prepped at Wisconsin before a 15-year NFL career.

Vincent presented eye-opening stats to the assembled Trojans, who admitted their collective desire to play in the NFL. 

Over the past 20 years, 15,018 players played in the NFL, but only 631 (4%) played three or more years.  The average career length is 3.7 seasons, but players do not receive benefits unless they put in four years, both stats according to the NFL.

Smith spoke about entitlement and how the league does not need USC players or any one player to succeed.  "John Elway retired; we kept playing," Smith quoted a common NFL axiom.

Both men spoke to the dangers of drugs, alcohol and off-field misconduct that can easily derail a promising career.  "Our clubs need dependability and reliability," said Smith.

The program explained to the student-athletes all the resources that are at their disposal in college, the draft process and then the NFL. 

"We're on a mission to build solid citizens across America," said Vincent.  The football administration and coaching staff, who set this up, have the same goal in mind at USC.

Vincent was all business with USC's future businessmen.


Makes you wonder why Pete never had Vincent or other NFL labor executives come in before. The degree in almost all cases is the most valuable asset that any team’s football player will receive from their God given skills. Not that bad a trade off really!

I wish I had the talent to get my education paid for. I had to work my way through and was very lucky to make it to the graduation ceremonies. Having my name called up at USC was worth all of it!

They also get post career benefits such as alumni support and better job opportunities for life. Those benefits are real and of great value. That should be stressed more frequently and with greater emphasis in my humble opinion.

I think I can definitely witness to the value of a college education. I was a 12th round draft pic in the 1976 draft to the Oakland Raiders. My signing bonus was $3500. My first year salary was $28,000. The largest annual salary which was my last year in the league was $80,000 with the Bucs. When I got married and took on a family, something told me to go back to school and get my degree. Went to school in the off season and acquired a Bachelors degree in Electronic Engineering. I am making as much if not more now with my brain as I did with my body. Was forced to retire from football because of a knee injury. Thank God for my college degree.

Leave a comment