With the NFL offseason in full swing for Jaylon Smith, the standout linebacker for the Cowboys is finding ways to make a difference away from the gridiron.
Smith is coming off a breakout season in Dallas, finishing the year with 121 combined tackles and four sacks. It was a pleasant sight to see for anyone that followed him from the start of his football career.
During his time at Notre Dame, Smith proved to be the most dominant linebacker in college. He was well on his way to becoming a top pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, but then suffered a brutal knee injury at the Fiesta Bowl.
His football career wasn’t guaranteed to be successful due to his injury, which some thought could be career threatening. That ultimately inspired him to dive into business.
While Smith is set for another big season with the Cowboys, the 24-year-old is currently spending time helping out his community.
On Friday, Smith is hosting the finals of a venture pitch competition that will support the dreams of minority entrepreneurs in his hometown of Fort Wayne. Along with three Indiana business owners, they’ll judge which finalist gets to win start-up cash that helps develop their business. There is $300,000 total available for the finalists.
It’s an incredible act from Smith, who believes the right mentorship can lead to success in any field.
From USA Today
“A lot of us want to be successful, but we don’t always have the mentorship and strategic planning,” Smith said. “Part of this is to increase the assets and provide for people who can make a difference.”
“Management matters so much for what companies will succeed or not,” Smith said. “You have to have definite criteria. Once you grow, you’ll need people to assist you. You want to be able to surround yourself with the right type of people.”
Smith says that one of the people that inspired him, in a business sense, is his boss Jerry Jones. The Cowboys owner and general manager famously risked a lot to buy the franchise, and transformed it into one of the most lucrative in all of sports.
Of course, Smith is in close proximity to an ultimate business success story in Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, a self-made billionaire who in 1989 invested his family’s entire range of assets – built largely in oil and gas exploration – to purchase an NFL franchise for roughly $250 million. Now the Cowboys are the most valuable sports franchise in the USA, worth at least $5 billion according to Forbes.
Smith said he’s had little conversation with Jones about business development, but he aims to have those types of chats. He envisions Jones as a potential mentor. Perhaps it will add a layer when Smith talks long-term contract with his current employer.
“Just from doing my research, it was amazing how he developed the resources to buy the Cowboys,” Smith said. “That’s inspired me.”
Smith is proving that there’s more to life than just football.
Whether or not you’re a fan of the Cowboys, it’s easy to see why Smith is such a beloved figure everywhere he goes.