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Former Bengals TE Tony McGee has found success in his post-NFL career

Former Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tony McGee is the CEO of a successful freight company called HNM Global Logistics, as well as other businesses.

Al Bello/Getty Images

Former Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tony McGee, drafted in the second-round of the 1993 NFL draft (No. 37 overall), played nine seasons in Cincinnati while posting 299 receptions, 3,795 yards receiving and 20 touchdowns. (NOTE: For comparison's sake, Jermaine Gresham posted 280 receptions in five years, for 2,722 yards receiving and 24 touchdowns.) McGee suffered a knee sprain in 2001 and the Bengals finally released him. After a one-year stint in Dallas and another year between the Cowboys and New York Giants, McGee called it a career after the 2003 season.

What now? It's a question that many athletes ask themselves. There is so much structure for players who begin playing well before high school. Schedules, routines and everything else is decided for them from high school, through college and into the professional leagues (if they're that lucky). Then when retirement comes, it's the echo of silence that fills their day when waking up in the morning (hopefully of sound body and mind).

Tony McGee, who initially tried his hand at being an NFL analyst, branched out and through happenstance, effort and taking the initiative, found his post-NFL career. Sports Illustrated ran a Scoreboard feature on McGee, who founded HNM Global Logistics...

...which connects those who move freight (trucking companies, airliners, rail transporters) with clients whose freight needs to be moved, getting it from one place to another as painlessly as possible. HNM's Orlando headquarters is attached to a 30,000-square-foot warehouse lined with white boxes stacked high on orange metal frames, one of four similar facilities currently owned or leased by HNM. It's a far cry from the 500-square-foot office 12 miles away, where McGee took his first steps in an industry he learned of during a chance dinner conversation. "I just figured it out," he says of those early days. "You get on the phone, start calling, networking, tapping your resources.... You don't think why or how. It's just: I gotta get this done."

The story reviews McGee's eventual path into being a successful entrepreneur with a business making eight figures in annual revenue.

The NFL is helping players invest their money for a career after the NFL. Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Chris Carter is attending the Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program at the San Francisco campus of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. The program, developed jointly by NFL Player Engagement and the Aresty Institute of Executive Education at Wharton, will cover topics including financing, operations, and business plan development. Throughout the four days, participants will work in groups to develop and deliver a business plan for the Business Pitch Competition that closes out the program.

Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins is one of 20 current and former players that took part in the inaugural NFL finance camp last month at the University of Miami School of Business Administration.

Enjoying my time here at the #NFLFinanceCamp @ktmerr #NFLPE2015 @nflplayerengage

A photo posted by @genosacks on

The program offers participants an opportunity for in-depth understanding of the financial world and for building long-term financial security. The Finance Camp is one of eight post-career training programs offered to current and former players through NFL Player Engagement. Attendees at the Finance Camp are receiving instruction from University of Miami business school professors and from retired All-Pro DE Patrick Kerney, who now serves as the NFL Vice President of Player Benefits.

McGee never had those opportunities but he's discovered his post-NFL career.

In 2013, McGee launched an offshoot of HNM Global, HNM Express, which provides trucking and freight-moving services, and he's in negotiations to open a group of Dunkin' Donuts franchises back in Indiana. (His research: daily taste tests at Orlando locations.) He remains as active as he is ambitious, rising each morning between 4:30 and 5:00 to hit the gym. The physical toll of his NFL career is, at least for now, negligible: pronounced thumb joints, manageable ankle inflammation, minor aches and pains. He harbors no regrets about his football days and sees his success as tied to the sport, not only in the discipline it instilled but also in the financial security it provided. "That's what the NFL does," McGee says. "It gave me a head start in my second career." Even if he committed a few false starts.