As a former Notre Dame and NFL linebacker Corey Mays knee how to make an impact on the field. Now he’s learning to make one off of it as an angel investor.
“As a professional athlete EVERYONE is always trying to pitch you a business idea. I took advantage of the offseason executive partnerships with the NFL and various schools like Wharton and Harvard, these opportunities opened me up to the entrepreneurial endeavors. I love building something and helping others achieve their dreams.”
After playing high school football at Morgan Park High School in Chicago, Illinois Mays emerged as the 5th ranked outside linebacker in his class and a 4 star recruit per 247 Sports. This naturally, earned him lots of attention from college coaches.
“All the recruiters start sounding the same, they tell you how talented you are, how you will be the next best player, etc, etc. I began to realize that I needed to make sure I was making the right decision for my best interest and not my ego, Notre Dame hit a lot of the checklists for me. Academics, Alumni and of course Atheltics”
Playing at Notre Dame of course comes with all of those perks but, perhaps the greatest of all is playing in historic Notre Dame Stadium.
“There is no adrenaline rush like running out of that tunnel on game day. It was always special to me and I never took it for granted because I knew about all the hard work and sacrifice that it took to get there. I knew it didn’t have to be me to suit up. My eyes would water knowing my family, friends, coaches and other support systems could see me play”
Along with the pageantry of playing at Notre Dame are the rivalry’s
“I would say Michigan State, Boston College, and USC were our most disliked teams”
After his senior season at Notre Dame Corey declared for the 2006 NFL Draft in hopes of continuing his football career.
“I was talking to a few teams in the later rounds and they weren’t sure if they were going to take me or not. I was already in the mix and so I didn’t feel depressed or anything [when I wasn’t drafted. You pray for opportunities and I had it, so there was nothing to do but just work. Everyone wants to be drafted, but you have to be resilient and grateful for the next steps.”
After the draft Corey got a call from the New England Patriots and joined their roster. During his time in New England he had many teammates who would make a great impact on his career
“There were so many incredible leaders in the Patriots locker room. I truly learned how to be a professional with the likes of Rodney Harrison, Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrable, Tom Brady, and the list could go on forever”
During the Patriots historic 16-0 2007 season Mays was on the roster but experienced a serious change of scenery after week 4.
“I was on the team until the 4th week of the season and then I became a member of the Cincinnati Bengals, it was hard to go from 4-0 to 1-3 in a matter of 48 hours but I learned everything I needed to fit in with my new team, I knew that team was special in the offseason and I looked forward to winning with them that year but fate had another plan for me”
While the team wasn’t as successful as the Patriots, Mays enjoyed his time with the Bengals
“My favorite memory with the Bengals was being around all the personalities in the locker room. I had a lot of fun everyday laughing and hearing stories. Unfortunately, we didn’t win as much but the players there were great”
As a restricted free agent in 2009 Mays had a difficult decision to make and ultimately, decided to take his talents to Kansas City to play for the Chiefs. A big factor I in his decision, to play at Arrowhead Stadium.
“Arrowhead is a great place to play, I loved the fans there. I miss game days there.”
When asked to compare his three NFL coaches (Bill Belichick, Marvin Lewis, and Todd Haley) this is what Mays had to offer.
“Belichick set the tone for me as a head coach. Every coach is different in leadership style and personality. I am thankful for all of them because I learned something new about how to lead and deal with different situations. They obvious all want to win but there are different ways to prepare”
2010 would be Mays last season in the NFL after 5 successful seasons.
“I am humbled by my NFL career. It still doesn’t seem real to me. I love that so many relationships and bonds were born out of that experience. I am now president of the NFL Alumni Chicago Chapter. I love making sure we give back and take care of former players”