Kuhn, Morency Entering Business Program


In the prime of their careers, professional football players don't like to think about life after the game. But it's inevitably coming, and there's no better time than now to take steps to be as prepared as possible.

That's why two Green Bay players, running backs John Kuhn and Vernand Morency, are taking advantage of the NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program this offseason.

A total of 114 players have signed up to participate in one to two weekend sessions at either The Harvard Business School, the Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University), the Stanford Graduate School of Business, or the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Kuhn and Morency will both attend The Wharton School, from Feb. 24-27 and from March 25-27, for a series of programs on a broad range of business topics, including entrepreneurship, real estate development and stock market investing, just to name a few.

For Kuhn, he's hoping to begin getting an education in the business world that he's never really had. A chemistry major at Shippensburg (Pa.) University, Kuhn said he only took business classes as electives in college.

"I'm just trying to get my first dip in to the pool and try to soak up as much information as possible," Kuhn said in a phone interview earlier this week.

"It's funny because there probably aren't a lot of guys who would say this, but I miss school. I miss getting in there and learning new things and educating myself. I'm just looking forward to that in general, being taught the whole business professional side of things, and trying to sink my teeth into something new."

Kuhn said he's received a lot of encouragement from the two directors of player development he's worked with in his NFL career - Green Bay's Tim Terry and Pittsburgh's Raymond Jackson - to prepare for life after football so that transition can be as smooth as possible.

"I'm going in there with an open mind," Kuhn said when asked about a specific interest in the business world. "I really feel like something will appeal to me and pop out there and really grab my attention."

That's already happened for Morency, who attended the program at Wharton last year and has developed a keen interest in real estate development. He's going back to Wharton this year to follow-up on some topics and add to the experience he's already gained from exploring some real estate partnerships over the past couple of years.

"I'm pretty passionate about what I want to do, and (the Wharton program) was very helpful for me," Morency said. "It was great just being in the presence of greatness, and when I say that, I mean people who have done it before and been successful. We're hands-on with everything, from case studies to breakout sessions with M.B.A. students."

Morency's long-range goal is to establish a real estate entrepreneurship that focuses on providing affordable housing for families, with an eye toward getting those families established in a business interest of their own. Since leaving Wharton last spring, Morency has developed several potential partnerships in pursuit of his goal of building joint ventures with major real estate firms.

{sportsad300}This offseason, Morency is also sharing his passion for the real estate business with high school students, visiting economics classes in both his home state of Florida and college home of Oklahoma, to encourage them to pursue their dreams.

"My goal is to try to help these kids out, to find a passion, something they love to do, and trying to find the best people to help mentor these kids, so they can be successful in life," Morency said.

Morency had that as a youngster, befriending Major League Baseball player Gary Sheffield as a teenager growing up in Florida. A draft pick of the Colorado Rockies back in 1998, Morency spent four years playing minor league baseball before eventually making it to professional sports in football, but he's always appreciated the encouragement Sheffield gave him every step of the way.

Morency feels if he can pass on those lessons to even a couple of kids, it will be worth it. Meanwhile he, and Kuhn, will continue to learn what they can on their own through the NFL and NFL-PA business program.

"The whole program to me is about trying to better understand myself," Kuhn said. "Understand my strengths and weaknesses as a business professional, and what I can do to help better myself for what my second career is going to be."

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