As part of the San Francisco 49ers player engagement program, the team spends a day as Google interns back in April. This program gives players life and career skills they can use to set themselves up for success after the NFL. In my head, all I could think about was the movie “The Internship” with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens wrote a blog about the experience of an intern at Google.
For the majority of athletes, all they’ve known is sports growing up. Most of these guys go through high school playing 3-4 sports. Then once they reach college, their commitment to football takes over their lives. That’s something Mullens touched on to open the article, and why it was an easy decision to sign up right away.
“Our player engagement program gives us all the resources we might need for life outside of football. They take rookies through a series of classes and talk about just the adjustment into the NFL. There are so many new things that you have to learn: dealing with money, dealing with family, dealing with fame, dealing with stress. Recently we realized, hey, we’re in the Bay Area around all these big companies, so why not learn something great -- from Google?”
Mullens had some noteworthy takeaways. It was clear that the experience opened up his point of view on life outside of football. That said, when Mullens shared his favorite part of his time at Google, it was football-related.
“But my favorite part of the day was hearing from Chase Williams, a former football player, and Googler. It was really cool to see an athlete make their way into the tech industry and to be successful after football.”
Which had Mullens thinking of life after football:
“The biggest struggle when leaving the NFL is that you’ve surrounded yourself with this game your entire life, doing the exact same thing over and over. When it’s over, what are you going to enjoy working on? What will you love more than the sport? What else will we be good at? During Chase’s presentation one of my teammates asked the question, ‘I’ve been playing in the NFL for so long, what skills do I have for the workforce? I’ve just been playing football!’”
Mullens felt at home right away when he was greeted with a “Welcome San Francisco 49ers” and a light-up floor. That was followed by a YouTube presentation on how our whole generation is changing and how social media affects fans and people around the world.
Mullens explained how this opened up his eyes on how people would love to see the day-to-day for a professional athlete. Mullens seemed intrigued by the idea of what life after football might be.
Before writing for Niners Nation, I worked for a tech company called Integrate, whose CEO Jeremy Bloom is a former NFL player and Olympic skier — picking his brain on what life after football was for him was always an interesting discussion. For Mullens, this experience might lead him to something he never knew he was interested. It may even help him open the door for something else. Branching outside of your comfort zone tends to do that — what a cool experience for Mullens.