A new direction for Revels

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At the beginning of every spring, former Bearcats football players line up in the weight room and proceed through the assembly line. They're weighed. They're measured. They're watched as they pump out bench press after bench press. They're timed as they sprint the 40-yard dash.


Even if they have virtually no shot at landing a spot in the NFL, most of the former senior class takes a chance and try to impress the pro scouts during UC's annual pro day.


There was one notable exception this year. Andre Revels, who led the team in tackles with 109 last season, was not in attendance. Perhaps this shouldn't have been a huge surprise, because, if you know Revels, you know he's cerebral and mature beyond his years. The reason he wasn't at pro day was simple - he's done with football. Plain and simple.


"Football has been more like a vehicle to be able to get my college education," Revels said as we watched a recent Bearcats spring practice. "That was the main reason I came to the University of Cincinnati - to stay close to my family and to get my bachelor's degree. It wasn't really a dream of mine to play in the NFL. Also, with the knee injuries it brings up that there are more important things in life than football. That will come around when I have kids and I have a family and I want to run around and play with them and not to have walk around with a cane. Even if I had a couple million dollars in the bank, you can't buy health."


Instead, Revels is now trying to promote it. He's working for Northwestern Mutual, selling life insurance, annuities and long-term care. This also shouldn't come as a surprise. Revels is a smooth talker, a guy who wants to take care of you and your family. He's soft-spoken and intelligent. It's hard not to like him immediately, and that should make him effective in his vocation. You look at him, and you know Revels is going to be a success.


"Especially with people my age, I'm trying to open their eyes to the things that my eyes have just been opened to," Revels said. "That way, they can better prepared for the future. You don't want your family to be stuck holding the bag at the end of the day. You want to take care of the people who took care of you."

When he says this, he's thinking of his mother, Andrea Revels. Since Revels didn't grow up with a father, his mother is the most important person in his life. Growing up, he watched her sacrifice while working two jobs to give Revels everything he needed to be successful.


She is one of the driving forces in his life, and because of her example, he wants to make that his life's work.


"I want to be able to give my family - when that time comes around - the best opportunity to succeed and to be there for my kids," Revels said. "My father wasn't there for me, but I'm going to be a father for my kids."


This wasn't a decision he took lightly. He had thought about his plans as the 2009 season - and his career - wound to a finish. He got to appreciate his final games in uniform, because he knew he was moving on to a better, healthier life.


"I was playing off one leg and doing things I shouldn't have to do to play football," Revels said. "But you make the sacrifices for the team. You don't really think about it because you're so into the team and the game and the tremendous run we had. You don't really worry about it. Now that I can look back on it, I think it was the best decision. I could have sat out, saved the knee, went to the NFL and made money. But that's selfish. I have no regrets about what I've done.


"Obviously, me and the team, we had a lot of success and a lot of people felt like the NFL was an obvious decision. One of my friends laughs and says I'm the only person in the recession who's not trying to play in the NFL. It's kind of true, but there are a lot of other ways to make money outside of football. The most important thing is the future and thinking about my family."

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