By CHRIS JENKINS
AP Sports Writer
Having found out firsthand that a member of a Super Bowl-winning team isn't necessarily wired for instant success off the field, former NFL linebacker George Koonce used his own struggles to fuel an academic study of the issues former players face when their careers are over.
Koonce, who played eight seasons with the Green Bay Packers and one with the Seattle Seahawks, wasn't ready for his career to be over after the 2000 season. He was depressed, inactive, and even tried to kill himself by driving his car off the road in 2003.
With the help of his late wife, Tunisia, Koonce turned his life around. Finishing his dissertation to fulfill his doctorate in philosophy at Marquette University was Koonce's tribute to Tunisia, who died of breast cancer in 2009.
Koonce says coaches and administrators can do more to help players prepare for life after football, but players must do more to recognize and cultivate potential business contacts during their playing days.
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