Not many can say they were both an NFL player and entrepreneur before the ripe young age of 26, but that’s exactly how Gerrard Sheppard’s current resume reads.
A Baltimore native and Towson University alum, Sheppard had well established roots in the area before signing with the Ravens as an undrafted wide receiver in 2013. While he was indeed a member of the Ravens (and later the Packers and Winnipeg Blue Bombers), Sheppard was never able to crack practice squad status. Though Sheppard never made it big in Baltimore as a football player, he might be making a name for himself with a new Baltimore-based business venture.
Opened last Saturday in Owings Mills (home to Ravens HQ), Sunset Raw Juice Bar offers a “variety of fresh smoothies, protein bowls and other raw food items.” Prior to the opening, Sheppard and his family “travel[ed] around the country to visit juice bars and see what worked and what didn't work.” Sheppard attributes the interest in health food and nutrition to his time in the NFL. "Coming into the NFL in my rookie year, I got mentored by a lot of guys who took care of their bodies and understood the importance of working out and putting the proper nutrition in your body,” said Sheppard. According to the Baltimore Business Journal, Sheppard plans to serve with his sister as general manager and will oversee day-to-day operations of the business.
With an estimated 78 percent of former NFL players going bankrupt or being “financially stressed” within two years of retirement, it’s certainly refreshing to see a former player making a smart investment. It’s all too often that we hear stories of athletes in financial ruin due to lifestyles of luxury and and opulence. Thankfully, I don’t see that being the case for this former Raven.