JJ Birden is a former NFL wide receiver who took his success on the field after nine seasons and turned it to success off the field as an entrepreneur and transformational speaker.
He shares his failures and accomplishments making the transition that many former pro-athletes just never do.
We also talk about his thoughts on having a mentor, seizing opportunities and the importance of being a master of your craft.
To appreciate the Hero’s Journey that is JJ Birden’s life, you must first know a few important facts:
Less than 6% of high school seniors go on to play college football
Of the 150,000 draft-eligible college football players, only 253 (less than 1%) are selected in the NFL draft
The average NFL career is less than 2 years
The average NFL player is 6’2, 245 lbs.
JJ played in the NFL for nine years at 5'10 157 lbs!
The odds of making it to the NFL are staggering. The odds of staying in the NFL are even more amazing. The odds of doing both are the most astronomical of all when you’re undersized and play one of the sport’s most physical positions. Good thing JJ Birden never cared about the odds of success.
Despite being the #1 high school wide receiver in Oregon, JJ didn’t receive a single D1 scholarship offer. He was fast enough for sure, but at 5’9 and 133 lbs., JJ was just too small to play with the big boys. At least that’s what the naysayers thought; JJ knew he was good enough, and he set his mind to achieving the impossible.
All he needed was an opportunity, no matter how small, even if it meant making his own.