Most rookies are focused on their Year One impact. Getting physically and mentally ready to play in the NFL. Proving to the team who drafted him the investment was worth it.
Make no mistake. Anthony McFarland has that mindset. But his focus goes beyond what happens on the gridiron, stretching to the impact he can make personally and for his community.
He discussed that mindset in an interview on Arthur Moats’ podcast, The Arthur Moats Podcast With Deke, earlier in the week.
“Yeah I’m a football player, I love the game,” McFarland started off saying. “I know there’s more than football. There’s more to life. I feel like I’ve been around a lot of good people who have raised me right and trying to be a hundred steps ahead. Coming into the league, saving your money, invest, giving back to the youth, non-profits. A lot of things to try and change the world. I’m not only trying to come in and play the game I love but also want to use the platform I have to change the world positively.”
It’s not often you hear a rookie, one drafted one month ago, throw around the word “invest.” But McFarland is taking a smart, pragmatic, and big-picture approach to his future. While football players make more money than most people, it can be less than some think. Rookie contracts in the new CBA are slotted and relatively inexpensive while players actual take home pay is roughly half their base salary after taxes, agent fees, etc. There are countless stories of players not handling their money wisely or relying on financial “advisors” to do it for them, leading to disastrous results.
McFarland also touched on giving back to his community. There are plenty of current Steelers to take that cue from. Ben Roethlisberger has given police stations in Pittsburgh and Ohio K-9 units while Cam Heyward’s Heyward House has helped so many in the local community.
After the draft, there were rumors and reports of McFarland being a character concern. But when you listen to an interview like this and the maturity McFarland shows – remember, he left school as a redshirt sophomore and is 22 – the Steelers seemingly got a high character man.
Check out the whole interview below.