Demetric Evans knows what it's like to be out of football. Prior to the 2003 season, he was released by the Dallas Cowboys and his football career was uncertain.
Evans, a 6-3, 300-pound defensive end, promised himself that if he ever made it back into the league, he would take advantage of all the NFL has to offer. After a standout season in NFL Europe in 2004, Evans nabbed a roster spot with the Redskins last preseason and ended up starting eight games.
And now, he is making good on that promise.
Evans, defensive lineman Renaldo Wynn, linebacker Mike Barrow and offensive lineman Ray Brown are among 66 NFL players who have enrolled in executive education programs at Harvard Business School and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Evans, who grew up in Haynesville, La., and attended the University of Georgia, will join Wynn and Brown in the Harvard program. Barrow will take part the Wharton seminars.
"I didn't take a lot of classes in finance in college and I didn't grow up in a family that was financially stable, so in order for me to be successful, I need to know what to do with my money," Evans said. "I have an opportunity to learn from the best--how can I pass that up?"
The National Football League and NFL Players Association worked with the business schools to create the curriculums, which focus on personal finance, real estate and entrepreneurship.
The programs, which run from April 6-8, are part of an ongoing NFL-NFLPA initiative to assist players in preparing for their post-playing careers. Tuition will be covered by the NFL's Tuition Reimbursement Program. Veteran players may be reimbursed up to $15,000 per league year for education expenses at an accredited institution of higher learning.
Many NFL players have agents and other representatives managing their money, but Evans says he doesn't feel comfortable doing that just yet.
"I'm going to educate myself first before I give anybody my hard-earned money to invest for me," he said. "I want to take away the ability that when I approach someone about managing my money, I know what I want them to do with it."
As part of its custom executive education activities, Harvard Business School has developed a customized workshop targeted to the needs of NFL players interested in owning, operating or building their own businesses.
The Wharton Sports Business Initiative and Wharton Executive Education have collaborated to develop a combination classroom and field-based workshop. It focuses on personal investments as well as entrepreneurial opportunities for players transitioning from their football careers.
The Harvard program concludes with an additional three-day session in May. The Wharton program offers follow-up with a year-long support program.
"This is one of many important steps that the union is taking to assist NFL players in their lives off the playing field," said Buffalo Bills cornerback Troy Vincent, who is president of the NFL Players Association and will be participating in the program at the Wharton School.
Some of the other NFL players participating in the workshops include running back Ahman Green, safety Brian Dawkins, quarterback Drew Brees, linebackers Sam Cowart and Dhani Jones, defensive ends Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, N.D. Kalu and Lance Johnstone, cornerback Bobby Taylor and wide receiver Freddie Mitchell.