What has the two-time Super Bowl Champion, Dallas Cowboy and UCLA safety been up to since retiring from the NFL? Well, we sat down with Washington and asked him a few questions and below are his responses.
What have you been up to since you retired?
As a high energy curious person, I have to keep very busy. My activities after football reflect that and the fact It is important to me to give back. I was Director of Scholarships at my alma mater, UCLA. I was responsible for raising
scholarship funds for the school and for increasing the profile of the Bruins Scholars initiative. I served as co-host of Out of Bounds, Fox Sports Radio’s flagship morning show.
The activity that has provided me the most satisfaction has been helping at risk youth in Southern California through Shelter37, which I founded in 1993. Wow, it’s been 25 years of constant activities dedicated to that cause, and we are getting stronger all the time.
I am also the President of the NFL Alumni Association, Southern California Chapter. In this role, I help NFL alumni negotiate the multiple issues and opportunities they are confronted with. We facilitate educational programs in investing, health etc. Additionally, we provide them access to opportunities to give back, get paid and have fun.
In my current role as The Director of Development at Alemany High School, I focus on creating a giving environment for new programs in fields such as robotics, theater, and technology. This role is similar to what I did at UCLA but at the high school level. It is a great opportunity for me to impact more kids, and positively change lives.
What would you have done if you had not played football?
I would have been a probation officer. Always had a desire because a probation officer changed my life and gave me guidance. Growing up the way I did and where I was my life could have gone so many ways. A probation officer set me on the path that has led to all my experiences and success. He changed my life, my family’s life and all the people I strive to help. Probation officers help the kids who really need help the most.
What leisure time activities give you joy?
I love socializing with all types of people, whether just playing dominoes or hanging out with people I have met along my journey. I have many friends I go way back with. I love building relationships and meeting new people. Real Estate is something I love being involved with…building things from scratch that creates value for myself and other people.
What are you involved with and how can others help?
There are three things I am involved with now that others can help out with. Shelter 37’s mission is to help at-risk youth in Southern California. We sponsor a variety of community programs that people can donate money or time towards helping us succeed. Register to get updates on the wonderful programs we are creating for our kids.
The programs I am working to create and expand at Alemany High School provide others opportunities to positively impact our youth through giving.
The Southern California Chapter of The NFL Alumni Association welcomes assistance in creating programs to support players who transitioned from playing into retirement. Register and stay up to date on what we are doing with them and how you can possibly help.
What are the most important lessons you learned from the game?
The importance of comradery may have been the most important lesson I learned from the game. In any endeavor where you want to be the best, a champion involving other people, its all about teamwork. It’s not going to be about ownership, upper management or coaching that will determine whether you are successful. It’s going to be about the relationships you build during the process of achieving.
What advice would you have given to your younger self?
What do you want to accomplish in the future?
I want to positively impact and change as many lives as possible. I am blessed. I wake up every day to change the life of at least one person. I will do that until the Good Lord calls me home.
Who are your heroes?
Henry Washington because he sacrificed his career to save the lives of a lot of young men. He was my High School coach, mentor and now my best friend.
If you had an opportunity to sit down with anyone who would it be?
Malcolm X because I would like to get a better understanding of his struggle, how he got to where he was and the changes he experienced. Malcom X coined my favorite life lesson phrase, “By Any means necessary”. To me it means don’t complain just get it done. I try to live by that motto.