22 current, former players to take part in NFL Boot Camp: Franchising

Twenty-two current and former NFL players -- including 2015 Pro Bowlers quarterback Drew Brees (Saints) and wide receiver Devin Hester (Falcons) -- will take part in the NFL Boot Camp: Franchising, which runs Friday through Monday.

The event will take place at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, named for Miami Dolphins Owner STEPHEN M. ROSS. Three players will also attend with their significant others as part of Player Engagement's Women's Engagement Initiative, designed to engage spouses and significant others in the professional development and career transition process.

Over the four days, participants will hear firsthand from franchisees, franchise owners, professors and former players, as well as executives at the International Franchise Association (IFA). Mr. Ross, the chairman, and founder of Related Companies, an international real estate firm, will open the program as the keynote speaker. In addition, former NFL players with franchise ownership experience, including Tim Biakabatuka, owner of four Bojangles' locations, Angelo Crowell, owner of five Jersey Mike's Subs locations, and Van Jakes, owner of three McDonalds locations, will take part in panel discussions.

"We want to help our players to be successful on and off the field," said Charles Way, Vice President of NFL Player Engagement. "Offering this Boot Camp and putting our players and their significant others in front of some the most successful people in our NFL family and in the corporate world will hopefully provide them the inspiration needed to achieve their dreams away from the football field."

Ross School professor of business economics Francine Lafontaine, co-author of The Economics of Franchising (Cambridge University Press) and leading academic expert on franchise performance, business creation and survival, serves as faculty director of the program, and joins three other Ross faculty members who will lead program workshops.

"Our faculty have significant experience creating customized learning experiences for executives and organizations," said Melanie Weaver Barnett, Chief Executive Education Officer at the Ross School of Business. "It is rewarding to work with the NFL's Player Engagement team to co-create this learning experience for players and their significant others who are considering franchise businesses as they enter their post-playing career."

NFL Player Engagement worked with the Ross School of Business and consulted with the IFA and the Professional Athlete Franchise Initiative (PAFI) to design the program.

"We are thrilled to, once again, help design a program that educates current and former NFL players and their spouses about franchising," said Steve Caldeira, President & CEO of the International Franchise Association. "Being a part of the franchise industry can be a solid investment in a players' future, but as with any major decision, it is important that players have the opportunity to do their due diligence before making a decision."

NFL Boot Camp: Franchising is part of NFL Player Engagement's Career Development Program, which offers a series of career training programs and internship opportunities for current and former NFL players.

"This seminar is an excellent opportunity for the players to get educated on the ins-and-outs of being a franchise owner," said Biakabatuka. "Every football player would like a long career but that is not a guarantee. Becoming a franchise owner could be a rewarding venture for a player who is planning for life after football and decides they are committed to learning the business."

Following are the NFL players participating in NFL Boot Camp Franchising:

-- NFL Communications

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