Armando Salguero

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross trying to prep players for post-retirement success while also helping team now

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is hosting is hosting 16 of his players in a weeklong business program aimed at preparing them for post-career opportunities.
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is hosting is hosting 16 of his players in a weeklong business program aimed at preparing them for post-career opportunities. adiaz@miamiherald.com

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said Monday that he and his fellow NFL owners should have the responsibility of maximizing their players during their careers on the field but also after they move on from football.

And, Ross believes, doing that while the players are still on rosters can ultimately help teams -- most importantly his Dolphins.

That’s why Ross this week is holding what he, his business partners and the Dolphins are calling a “business combine” in New York for 16 of Dolphins players at the same time all NFL teams are sending coaches and personnel departments to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

The business combine is in its second year under Ross and it connects Dolphins veterans with business leaders, puts players in business meetings, takes them onsite to real estate and other business properties. And all of it is meant to develop the players as they start to think about their post-career endeavors.

“This is really to give them an insight into what business is about,” Ross said Monday. “I mean, don’t forget, these guys have concentrated their college and their professional football careers into becoming better football players and have been kind of shielded a little bit from the business world.

“This is really to create them and develop them so that when they do make the transition out of football they’re better prepared. I think every owner should have the responsibility of developing them (players) not only as football players but also after their careers and as people.

“That way it’s better for them, it’s better for the team, it’s great to see these guys that are so passionate for what they do and the capabilities they have, how they use it to start the next level.”

The business combine is obviously a great networking opportunity as well as a chance to spark the business potential of various participants.

But how exactly does it help the Dolphins, as Ross said?

“Well, I mean, and with what the team is doing, it kind of brings them together,” Ross said. “And, you know, I think they experience these type of things together, they become closer together and they realize what the organization does and they’re more committed to the Miami Dolphins.

“And certainly, I think, when other players outside when they’re looking to see what teams they’d like to play for, it doesn’t hurt. Because the word spreads. When I was speaking yesterday (at a business conference for NFL players in Ann Arbor) and the amount of players that came up to me and we spoke. Because I was there speaking, I think they really appreciate it.”

Six Dolphins players participated in the business combine last year. The players participating this year?

Isa Abdul-Quddus, Andre Branch, Jermon Bushrod, Donald Butler, Jake Brendel, John Denney, Terrence Fede, Mike Hull, Jelani Jenkins, Byron Maxwell, Spencer Paysinger, Ryan Tannehill, Michael Thomas, Kraig Urbik, Cameron Wake, Sam Young.

Notice that group spans the roster spectrum from several pending free agents, backups, and special teams contributors to the team’s starting quarterback and most productive defensive player. Ross said he’d like for the event to grow to where everyone on the roster attends.

“He gave them phenomenal advice in why it’s important for them to be doing what they’re doing now in building the necessary relationships that their owner Steve Ross believes in maximizing the potential of each player both on and off the field,” said Dolphins Player Engagement director Kaleb Thornhill. “And he’s adamant about that and has opened his doors to get our guys this internship experience that we’re calling the business combine as they graduate from the NFL combine and are stepping into more a business end and leveraging their NFL careers as Miami Dolphins.”

On Monday the group of players sat in on a the Related Companies’ weekly development meeting.

Players will also hear from from Ross, Harvey Spevak (CEO of Equinox), Maverick Carter of LRMR Management, Michael Rubin (co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils) and Dave Gilboa, who is the co-founder & Co-CEO of Warby Parker.

Players also will tour Hudson Yards, the largest private real estate development in the history of the United States and the largest development in New York City since Rockefeller Center; and RSE Ventures, a sports and entertainment firm founded by Ross and Matt Higgins.

The players all paid their own way and are covering their own costs of lodging and meals because if Ross did it that would be a circumvention of the NFL salary. Plus, it’s good for future business men to understand that to succeed in business, they might have to invest in themselves.

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