The NFL season is grueling, but you could make the case that the off-season is just as bad. Since pro football is so hard on the body, NFL teams only play 16 regular season games (spread over 17 weeks) and then a maximum of four playoff games. This means that the off-season is much longer than it is for every other professional sport, stretching over 200 days from February to September. Sure, there are mini-camps and training camp in there, but there are still whole months of time when players are away from their teams without much to do other than hang out and party.
This creates an environment that leads to trouble. Left to their own devices, young men with loads of cash tend to make some bad decisions. Every NFL off-season is full of arrests — nine players have been arrested already in 2013, for crimes ranging from domestic violence to trying to board a plane with a gun.
One NFL player has an interesting strategy for filling his time this off-season. St. Louis Rams running back Terrance Ganaway (if the name is unfamiliar to you, that’s probably because he’s fourth on the Ram’s depth chart and has zero carries in his career) took a job at Jimmy John’s sandwich shop in Waco, Texas.
Ganaway wasn’t hired to be a celebrity spokesperson, nor anything of the sort. He’s making sandwiches — and getting paid minimum wage to do it. As a sixth-round pick of the Rams in 2012, Ganaway is playing under a four-year contract worth about $2.2 million.
“I’ve had people, teammates, say ‘You need to buy stocks in Jimmy John’s, not work at Jimmy John’s.’ The biggest thing was stay out of trouble, save money, manage my money,” Ganaway said.
Ganaway sounds like a man who has a lot of things figured out. It was recently revealed that as many as 78 percent of NFL players are bankrupt or in severe financial trouble within two years of retirement.
Ganaway played his college football at nearby Baylor University, so he’s a bit of a minor celebrity in the area — which has reportedly led to increased sales at Jimmy John’s. He may not become the next Jared, or even Michael Strahan, but it sounds like he’ll have the sandwich business to fall back on if the whole NFL thing doesn’t work out.