Foster, 27, a three-time Pro Bowl selection in his five-year
pro career, is one of the sport's noted underdog success
stories, having been passed over in the 2009 draft after playing
at the University of Tennessee.
Foster spoke with Reuters alongside his "Draft Day" co-star,
Terry Crews, who played briefly in the NFL before turning to
acting. Together they talked about the career transition for NFL
players once they leave the game, the draft and their beefs with
the National Collegiate Athletic Association, or NCAA, now
facing pressure from athletes wanting to unionize.
Q: Have you given thought to pursuing acting once your
football career concludes?
Foster: I thoroughly enjoyed my experiences in the film
industry thus far. So I don't see why, if an opportunity
presents itself again, I wouldn't jump on it, but it won't get
in the way of my football career because that's first and
foremost. That was my dream since I was seven years old.
Q: What are some of the difficulties a football player
faces transitioning to another career after his playing days are
Crews: You're identified with being a football player and
then all of a sudden you're out there in normal life, and it's
very, very harsh. ... The guys you went to college with all got
into their careers ... but all of sudden now you're starting all
over and that guy is your boss.
Q: "Draft Day" shows the eccentric questions teams often
ask draft prospects. What peculiar questions did either of you
Foster: They asked me, 'Would you rather be a cat or
dog?' (laughs) I said, 'I'd rather be a human.'
Crews: It was weird. They were asking me why my coaches
didn't like me, my college coaches, because we had a big beef
going on with the college stuff. They (NFL teams) thought it was
a character flaw, and it just turns out they (my coaches) didn't
like me. They were really invasive in your personal life.
[to top of second column]
Q: Arian, did you have a similar issue at Tennessee?
Foster: Me and my coaches in college butted heads. I kind of
butted heads with everything in college because it's a farm club
system. I'm just extremely against the NCAA, and that kind of showed
throughout my college tenure (and) leading up to the preparations
for the draft, and they're (NFL teams) asking me all kinds of
questions. I didn't know (my college coaches) were cutting my throat
behind the scenes. So they asked me, 'How do your coaches do this?'
'Oh, they'll tell you I'm a good, hard worker, yada, yada.' And
little did I know they're saying that I don't work hard, not a good
teammate and all this other stuff. It was a great experience either
Crews: One problem with the NCAA is the fact that they're not
paying you, it makes them (coaches) your fathers, but they're not
your fathers, but they act like they're your fathers, and here you
are, you're a man.
Foster: And you're paying for your father's salary...
Crews: So they (college coaches) take that kind of seat in
your life with no input by you. And so they're telling people as if
they're your dad who you are, and you don't even know me. You didn't
even raise me. How are you even going to speak characters-wise just
because the way I run a football or the way I hit somebody? They're
speaking (on) things that they have no idea because they're not
paying you. Now if they're paying you, they'd have to figure you
out. And that's another thing with the NCAA. That's why I'm not
watching (college basketball's) March Madness, all this stuff,
people making billions of dollars and these poor guys snapping their
legs on national TV, and they don't get a dime. And it's not
American. Where in America can you not demand a fair salary or a
fair day's pay?
(Editing by Mary Milliken and Ken Wills)
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