Marques Ogden‘s National Football League career as an offensive lineman stemmed for five years with four teams. His rookie salary set him up handsomely for his future. Ogden’s father was in the financial industry and managed his money when he signed his NFL contract. It went well, until he was forced to retire.
Ogden retired from football with a back injury and was not ready mentally and emotionally.
“It was a downward negative spiral for about six months. I was in a really dark depression, with a very weak mindset. I was not strong. It didn’t break but I constantly bent, every single day. I was an alcoholic. I was a pain popping addict… I didn’t have a purpose for getting up.”
Sadly, this is not unusual for retiring athletes. It is common because players don’t have a plan or structure for what to do with the rest of their life. Many declare bankruptcy, get divorced, and turn to substances to cope with the depression and physical pain from the job they had.
“Players have been used to a job with a purpose, a reason to get up. When you’re out, you don’t have that structure. There’s no one telling you where to go, where to be, when to practice, when to eat. Without football, their identity is gone.”
After retirement, Ogden founded a successful construction company, but after a bad business decision, found himself bankrupt, foreclosed on, and spiraling downward.
At rock bottom, Ogden took his life back. He has since used his story to inspire others into learning from his mistakes. Today, he is a successful business and leadership coach, cohost of the rising podcast, The Lev and Marques Show, alongside ESPN broadcaster, Leverett Ball.
Ogden credits football for being able to pick himself up. “Football has given me the ability to develop a championship mindset that will never break under any circumstances. It’s also given me the ability to bounce back and persevere through anything.”