Many of you were probably unaware Jon Kitna had retired from the NFL. (He did, back in January after wrapping his 15th season.)
Kitna wasted no time in moving on with his life, embarking on a new career as a high school math teacher and football coach in Tacoma, Wash.
âI knew football was over," Kitna told KJR-AM radio in Seattle (via SportsRadioInterviews.com). "Whether it was starting to teach or whatever, my time was done. I was blessed to play as long as I played and never imagined it going as long as it did."
Kitna teaches at the same school where his son will be a freshman in the fall. He jumped right into the job mid-year to ensure a sense of normalcy for his family. Kitna never expected to have an extended NFL career, and always thought he'd be a math teacher. Football had merely delayed the inevitable.
âWell, that was my degree, and I enjoy it. I enjoy math," he said. "Iâve found it much more difficult than I thought coming back here. And Iâve always felt like I had a healthy respect for teachers, but now I feel like I just have even more."
Don't expect Kitna to get Brett Favre-esque pangs for a return to the game. With his troublesome back becoming more of an issue in recent years, he told the Dallas Cowboys he could no longer be counted on as a backup to Tony Romo.
Kitna's playing days are done, but he has embraced the idea of molding young men as a coach.
âMy vision is to run a football program that focuses on training the young man, not the football player," he said. "We call it being a transformational coach as opposed to a transactional coach. Coaching character and integrity through the avenue of high-school football and producing better young men as they graduate and move on.â
We sometimes hear negative stories about players who struggle to make the transition to life after the NFL, but Kitna shows that it can be done, when a gameplan is already in place.