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From cupcakes to Broadway: 3 former Titans who are thriving off the field

Derrick Morgan, Eddie George and Brian Orakpo are among the Tennessee alumni who have proved themselves as business entrepreneurs after life in the NFL.

Syndication: USA TODAY
Eddie George 
Eddie George/ H. Darr Beiser via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Navigating life after football can be difficult for a former professional athlete. Re-finding your purpose is a difficult exercise most athletes partake in, and one that often requires them to tap into their entrepreneurial spirit. Several former Tennessee Titans are thriving since hanging up their cleats.

Here are three former Titans players who are leading successful lives off the field in ways you’d never expect.

Eddie George: Broadway actor and Tennessee State head coach

Legendary running back Eddie George is still plenty involved with the Titans, and George’s services are often enlisted for postseason hype videos. George has also thrived in a multitude of other ways since retiring from the NFL in 2004 and found his second calling via Broadway and film. Most notably, George starred as Billy Flynn throughout an expansive North American tour of the hit musical, Chicago. George also appeared in Shakespeare’s Othello and Julius Caesar at the Nashville Shakespeare Festival, and TOP DOG/UNDERDOG at the Nashville Repertory Theatre. George has received critical acclaim for his uncanny ability to transition from field to stage.

More recently, George returned to his footballing roots, but via a different role altogether. George surprisingly became the head coach of the Tennessee State Tigers in April of 2021. George is clearly committed to becoming a successful college football coach, having signed a five-year contract to lead the Tigers. Tennessee State totaled a record of 5-6 in George’s first season in charge. Tennessee State is expected to improve under George’s tutelage in 2022.

Brian Orakpo and Michael Griffin: Gigi’s Cupcakes

The sweet post-retirement endeavors of former Titans defenders Brian Orakpo and Michael Griffin have been well documented, as the pair opened a franchise of Gigi’s Cupcakes in Austin alongside their longtime friend Bryan Hynson. Orakpo and Griffin are notable alumni of the Texas Longhorns, and they’ve decided to plant their roots in that community. Griffin and Orakpo have fully committed themselves to learning the cupcake business, even going as far as baking, decorating and working the front desk of their business.

Both Orakpo and Griffin have expanded their scope elsewhere beyond the world of baking. Orakpo also co-owns Athlete Connect, a social networking app that connects athletes to coaches and trainers around the world, while Griffin took a broadcasting gig with the Longhorn Network in 2018, covering his alma mater in a professional capacity. Orakpo and Griffin have fully committed themselves to their post-NFL paths. Their dedication has been admirable, and should serve as an example for fellow retirees.

Derrick Morgan: Investor and businessman

Derrick Morgan took full control of his post-NFL life by becoming an investor and businessman. Morgan is a managing partner in KNGDM Group, a company that focuses on empowering urban neighborhoods threatened by explosive growth and gentrification by building real estate and investing in communities.

Morgan aligned himself with legendary entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, who has helped him navigate the business and finance world. Vaynerchuk heads VaynerSports, a self-described contemporary and innovative career management services for athletes. Morgan and Vaynerchuk share interest in empowering athletes to excel both on and off the field.

Morgan spent his entire nine-year career (2010-18) as a member of the Titans. A first-round selection (No. 16 overall) in the 2010 NFL Draft, Morgan totaled 306 tackles, 112 quarterback hits, 54 tackles for loss, 44.5 sacks, 25 pass breakups, five fumbles forced and five fumbles recovered across his career. He’s one of the more underappreciated Titans in recent memory.