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
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
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 over?
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 get?
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.
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
[to top of second column]
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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