Jun 8, 2015, 3:08 PM EDT
Over five decades of NFL experience was on hand during last Thursday’s Monogram Career Network (MCN) event that featured former University of Notre Dame football players.
Monogram winners Steve Beuerlein (‘87), Tim Brown (‘88), Marc Edwards (‘97), John Carlson (‘07) and Manti Te’o (‘13) spent nearly an hour speaking with current members of the Fighting Irish football squad inside the Isban Auditorium in the Guglielmino Athletics Complex. The star-studded quintet was back on campus for Football Fantasy Camp.
Here is just a brief rundown of the credentials they brought to the discussion:
Steve Beuerlein (QB): 17 NFL seasons … 147 touchdown passes.
Tim Brown (WR): 17 NFL seasons … 1,094 receptions … 100 touchdowns … Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2016 … 1987 Heisman Trophy winner.
Marc Edwards (FB): 9 NFL seasons … Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots (2001) … currently a Monogram Club board member.
John Carlson (TE): 7 NFL seasons … 15 touchdown receptions.
Manti Te’o (LB): 2 NFL seasons … current member of the San Diego Chargers.
All five talked about why they chose to attend Notre Dame and what it means to still be part of the Fighting Irish family. They stressed how important it is to take full advantage of the educational opportunities that Notre Dame offers. A major talking point centered around the fact that everyone needs to be prepared for what path they’ll take once their football careers are over.
Here is some of what they had to say:
“I came to Notre Dame with big expectations, football wise, but I really came here because of what Notre Dame stood for. I knew the value of a Notre Dame education was going to be able to open up a lot of doors when my playing career was over, and it has.”
“The reason I was able to play so long wasn’t because I was one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, it was because I always had a coach who wanted me on the team. They wanted my presence, my leadership and the way I carried myself. They knew they could count on me, they knew I was going to be prepared and make good decisions off the field. Because of that, there was always a job for me.”
“When I tell people where I went to school, if they don’t know already, it just commands immediate credibility and respect. Just by saying you went to Notre Dame gets you in the door. While going through adversity during my career, whenever I called someone from Notre Dame, even if I didn’t even know them, I just knew there was a Notre Dame connection and there was a way this person could help me. Every single time that phone has been answered and they’ve done whatever they could to help, no questions asked.”
“I came to Notre Dame with one goal in mind and that was to graduate in four years. I didn’t have any dreams about playing in the NFL and I could have cared less about playing in the NFL.”
“To me, this University meant an opportunity to do something that is bigger than life. It was a chance to have an education. My mom and dad grew up in Louisiana and had to drop out of high school to pick cotton to help their families. So all they wanted for their kids was to get a good education.”
“This University is special. Once you sign your name on the dotted line and you say I’m going to play for the University of Notre Dame, you have signed on for something that’s special. When you’re here, enjoy your four years here, but understand that people outside of this place expect you to be different; they expect you to do things right because you went to the University of Notre Dame. As Notre Dame men, we are expected to do things at a different level.”
“The great thing about being at Notre Dame is that whatever is in you that you want to accomplish, you can accomplish because you’re going to have the means to do it.”
“Probably the worst thing of my NFL career ended up being the best thing. I tore my knee up the opening game of my second year and missed the whole season. The doctor told me it was a pretty bad injury and they were going to try and get me to walk straight and they didn’t know if football would be in my future. I remember being at the hospital that night and I had my Notre Dame class ring on. I took it off before surgery and I kissed it because I realized I had an opportunity at life if I couldn’t play again. I went on to play 15 years after that, but I say it was the best thing that happened because I prepared to leave the game almost every day after that. Every day I stepped on the field I thought it could be my last so I enjoyed it.”
“I knew I was going to be able to compete on the football field, and all the football stuff was fine, but that wasn’t the reason I came to Notre Dame. I came here because I knew I was going to graduate because Notre Dame took that as a priority. That was the biggest reason I came here. The life after football was going to be important.”
“During your career you get used to everyone telling you ‘yes’ and doing things for you. When I got done with the NFL and am in the business world, I started hearing ‘no’ for the first time. Those people who you’ve helped out in the past are now saying ‘no’ to you for the first time and you think, ‘what do you mean no?’ because you’ve been so used to hearing ‘yes’ your whole life.”
“I reached out to a fellow Notre Dame graduate and began networking and got a job, started a career and have branched off on my own since then. It was because of that Notre Dame connection that I moved onto life after football. A Notre Dame person is going to do whatever they can to help you.”
“I work hard at the job I have now. Like most players, I made good money in the NFL, but only two or three guys on a team make ‘retirement money’. Yes, I have a nice nest egg, retirement and all that other stuff, but you’re going to have to transition into something else after football.”
“I came to Notre Dame first and foremost because of the academics. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get into a school like this without football and so football was my ticket.”
“You’re part of the Notre Dame family now so don’t take that lightly. Make sure you’re taking these opportunities to meet guys and talk with former players and connect with those individuals because football is going to end. Some guys play 17 years in the NFL, I made it seven. I retired from the NFL three weeks ago so I’m in a transition right now and trying to figure things out. It’s a little bit scary, but it’s also comforting to know that I’m part of this group of not only the Notre Dame football family, but also the greater Notre Dame family.”
“It won’t hit you how special this place is until you leave. When you’re driving out of main circle and you see the Golden Dome getting smaller and smaller in your rearview mirror, that’s when it’ll hit you.”
“The NFL is great and we’re all blessed to be in that fraternity, but this (Notre Dame) is a family.”
“Notre Dame is a global school. We can go internationally and people know us, and most schools can’t do that. As long as you take advantage of every day that you have here, Notre Dame will repay you tenfold.”