- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
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Ten(ish) Questions With... is a weekly series in which we chat with a Detroit Lions player or coach about whatever. Sometimes it'll be football-related. Sometimes it’ll be about their dogs or something completely different. Want to hear from a particular subject? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ALLEN PARK, Mich. – Don Muhlbach is only known when he does something wrong for the Detroit Lions. That’s the life of a long-snapper at any level, but especially in the NFL.
But Muhlbach is also invested in business and he chatted about that in a holiday edition of Ten(ish) Questions With…
You’ve done a lot of business stuff in the offseason. What’s your goal after you’re done playing with that?
Don Muhlbach: Ha, ha. Just trying to expand my options for whenever this is done. Hopefully not for a while.
Expand options, is there something you’re targeting?
Muhlbach: Well, I was a business major in college (at Texas A&M) and it was more just to kind of keep up with something. I haven’t used that part of my brain in 10 years, so it’s nice to see what’s going on and rules change and different things and stay in it a little bit. I still like business. Business and finance has always been intriguing to me, so it’s a way to keep up with all that.
You’re a long-snapper so there was at least a chance you wouldn’t have played in the NFL. What was the plan if you didn’t?
Muhlbach: Oh, man. This has been awesome. This was not Plan A, trust me. It’s definitely working, though.
So what was Plan A?
Muhlbach: I was going to work for, there were a couple of companies that I had talked to that had come to school that had done financial planning for athletes. That was going to be how I was going to stay involved with football was that way. I may still do that one day; who knows?
Did you accept a job? Did you go on the interview process?
Muhlbach: No, no. I did not go that far because I was told, 'Don’t do that until you know you’re done with football because no one is going to take the time to interview, hire, train you if they know there’s a chance you’re going to leave.' I just did a lot of odd jobs after college and the first year, after I got released, I just went home and did whatever I could to earn some extra money. I knew I was going to give it another year.
What were you doing?
Muhlbach: I was on a survey crew for a few weeks. I worked as a temp in an office for a few weeks. I worked at a bank. Actually, when they called me (for a tryout), I was working at a bank. Customer service.
Wait, like a teller?
Muhlbach: (Laughs) No, not a teller. I was in a cubicle.
That’s crazy. What was the temp job?
Muhlbach: There was a business in my hometown that was getting ready to do some stuff so they needed help typing and filing and getting stuff ready and making PowerPoint presentations and all that stuff, so I did that.
When you get the call at the bank, do you just walk out?
Muhlbach: No, I told my boss I had to leave a little early to catch a flight and they were like, ‘Good luck.’ They knew why I was there. They were all very supportive. It was very cool.
If you had gone into athlete management, were you trying to be an agent?
Muhlbach: No, just financial planning. I had seen the guys from college that come back and you always hear all the stories that, what’s it, 80 percent of guys are broke when they are done playing within five years? Guys that are lucky enough to make it this far, you just don’t ever want to see that.
Are you doing all your investments?
Muhlbach: Not all my own, but I have a pretty good adviser and he not only tells me what we’re doing but why we’re doing it and he’s really good for me to bounce ideas off of, and sometimes he likes mine and sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.
You have to enjoy that type of involvement still?
Muhlbach: My problem is I can only do it in the offseason. That’s kind of something you need to have your finger on the pulse of what’s going on all the time and I don’t have the time to give it the attention it deserves this time of year.
When you go to the Harvard, Wharton schools for a week, what’s that like?
Muhlbach: Very intense. Kind of like oversaturation. You kind of have to spend a week when you’re done going over what you did because you spent so much time writing and getting everything down that you have to make sure you have it. It’s a good experience and a lot of networking, too, which is awesome to meet other guys. Like I met Jed Collins at the Wharton one and two years later, he’s my teammate, which is pretty cool.