- Chantel Jennings, ESPN Staff Writer
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When former Michigan safety Marlin Jackson reached the NFL as a first-round pick in 2005, there was no one there to help him with the process of going from a broke college athlete to a 22-year-old millionaire.
But now, seven years later, Jackson and former Michigan teammate Tim Massaquoi (a seventh-round draft pick that same year) have begun to form a business they hope will help rookies shift into the NFL lifestyle. They’ve called it PTS -- Prepare to Succeed.
“That’s where it all comes from -- some of the mistakes that me and Tim made ourselves and mistakes the majority of guys around the league make because you really have no clue as to what all goes into being a professional athlete,” Jackson said Friday at the Mott Takeover radiothon at WTKA radio. “You’re really just almost being thrown to the wolves and you have to learn on the run, but we’re trying to prevent that.”
For the past year and a half, Jackson and Massaquoi have been making plans for PTS, which Jackson described as a “career transition program for collegiate athletes going into the NFL.”
“It’s preparation for the lifestyle and the different things you’ll encounter becoming a professional athlete,” Jackson said. “As far as the agents, financial advisors, CPAs, responsibilities.”
The two are hoping to start small with a pilot program that’d work with some Michigan graduates, but eventually they’d like it to be a program implemented by the NCAA to help ease the stressful and often overwhelming process for many players.
Jackson said when he spoke with a few Michigan football players about what to expect upon entering the NFL that several were unaware of the financial responsibilities and troubles that they could encounter during their first few years. He said that most athletes only focus on the football aspect rather than seeing it as their job, which is why some football players find themselves broke shortly after leaving the league.
“In high school and college everyone is telling you you’re the greatest and this and that and everything is being done for you,” Jackson said. “And once you’re on your own it’s your responsibility to handle all these things and guys don’t know how to handle these simple responsibilities.”