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Two-time Super Bowl Champ Kareem McKenzie To Help Players Transition into Retire

Former NFL offensive lineman?searched for his own transitional answers and realized self-help books were based on biblical scripture as a reference in changing careers and living a fulfilling life. Read Transcript


NARRATOR: Kareem McKenzie targets transition

like he did football, as a champion.

The 11 year NFL tackle helped anchor the New York Giants'

offensive line, winning two Super Bowls in four years

despite the continual turnover of teammates.

The team of collective individuals

come together towards one goal to achieve something greater

than themselves, not bad.

NARRATOR: Like Super Bowl XLII, still

regarded as one of sport's greatest upsets

when the 2007 Giants ended the New England Patriots'

undefeated season.

The win was set up by the helmet catch, the third down pass

that's called the greatest play in Super Bowl history,

courtesy of an Eli Manning escape and David Tyree catch.

I turned around, I look and I'm like,

he still has the ball so he's trying to block somebody.

And he throws the ball down the field

and I'm like, not the middle of the field.

And David jumps up and makes a great catch.

It's on his helmet.

He did a great job of holding on to that ball.

It's not often that you have something so special, so unique

happen to you.

NARRATOR: Four plays later the Giants scored the game winner

with 35 seconds left.

It was the first of their two Super Bowl

wins against the Patriots.

Four years later, following the 2011 championship season,

Kareem was released by the Giants.

He reluctantly retired after briefly attempting

to extend his career.

Trying to continue playing on beyond that

and not being successful in doing so, it's for a reason,

for purpose.

Never try and place a comma where God has put a period.

NARRATOR: But the 33-year-old Kareem

found the adjustment difficult.

What did you find to be the most challenging part

of that transition?

How do you fill your free time.

Everything is so structured.

You know, Monday through Saturday through Sunday,

doesn't matter if it's week one, week 17, the playoffs,

you know what it is.

But now that you're retired what do you do now?

And that camaraderie that you had with your teammates,

can't go hang out with them because they're at work.

How do you fill that void in your life?

NARRATOR: Struggling through downtime

and facing a career change, Kareem battled depression

and searched for answers.

He linked hope to what he previously

heard during team chapels.

A lot of what I saw in the self-help books

was based on scripture.

This is all an offshoot of what the Bible is already

telling us.

If this is what we have that's available to develop

a relationship with God, grow closer to Him

that my joy might remain in you as your joy maybe fulfilled.

And to understand that you may have forgotten about me,

but I didn't forget about you.

NARRATOR: Kareem recalled something else,

what he learned from a DUI arrest

when he was a younger player.

To be placed on the front page of a newspaper,

the amount of shame and guilt I felt really changed me.

Made me realize that this is a struggle

that many other players may go through.

Everyone in every day life goes through a struggle.

They're no different than the players in the NFL.

We are human beings.

NARRATOR: His empathy and new found availability

brought Kareem direction.

The Penn State graduate is now studying

to become a licensed counselor to help former athletes

and military members adjust to their own life transitions.

Wow.

The dark recesses of my mind that

have attempted to dissuade me from achieving that

which God has in store for me.

I learn from them.

That's why I'm in this profession I'm

in now because I've had those moments where

I didn't know which way was up.

NARRATOR: Kareem's advice to both current and former players

stem from his own experience and conviction.

They're not defined by who they are, who've they've been,

or what they're doing now.

They are a man who is a family man who

has their priorities in order-- God, family, football.

God should be first and foremost because he gives us

the opportunity.

Who is Jesus Christ to you?

Someone who sacrificed all for me

before I was even a thought to my mother

or my father, who has encouraged,

supported, and loved.

I want to make meaning out of that sacrifice.

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