Devon Kennard is a professional athlete, businessman and philanthropist. He currently plays linebacker in the NFL for the Arizona Cardinals. The 2019 season with the Detroit Lions was a great one for Devon. He was nominated team captain by his coaches and teammates for the second consecutive season while also matching his career high sack total with 7 and managed to add 1 touchdown, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 forced fumble, 58 tackles and 9 tackles for loss. In 2019 the Lions organization felt Devon deserved national recognition for his efforts on and off the field so nominated him to be a finalist for the Walter Payton Man of The Year Award; which is a league wide award that’s given to the highest performing players on the field who are also making a huge impact in their communities and philanthropic efforts. Devon’s philanthropic efforts in Detroit were spearheaded by his relationship with the Midnight Golf Program which is an after school program in the heart of Detroit. The Midnight Golf Program is a mentorship program that teaches kids how to play golf but also helps prepare these students for college and beyond by teaching them how to take and apply for the SAT’s and ACT’s and apply for scholarships and loans. Devon fell in love with the Midnight Golf Program and created the Devon Kennard Scholarship Fund dedicated to Midnight Golf Students. Now that Devon will be playing for the Arizona Cardinals (which is his hometown team) he is looking forward to getting started and making a major impact immediately on the field, in his philanthropic initiatives as well as his business endeavors. Devon’s reputation for being exceptional on the field and off started in college where he graduated with his undergrad and master degrees in Communication Management before entering into the NFL.
When Devon is not on the football field he spends his time growing his real estate business by investing in real estate properties across the United States. Devon currently has $1.5 million assets under management while also passively investing in over a dozen private commercial real estate syndications which include apartment complexes, hotels, single family homes, retirement living spaces, medical buildings and trailer park communities. In addition to his real estate portfolio Devon is an advocate for youth mentorship, education, and literacy. During his time in Detroit for the 2018 and 2019 season Devon was a part of the leadership group within the Lions organization that launched the Inspire Change Initiative in 2018. The Inspire Change Initiative raised almost 1 Million dollars in 2 years and all of that money is dedicated to Detroit based organizations that Devon and the other leadership members voted on. Not only did Devon help raise money he also donated his own money,1 time and resources to help the Detroit communities. Although he has experience public speaking in various settings, Devon specializes in speaking and connecting with the youth. He spends a lot of time in local communities volunteering his time and encouraging kids to build skills that will push them towards their dreams. Devon believes it is unique hearing a professional athlete talk about education, reading, and building skills sets non sport related which is exactly why he makes it a priority in his life.
While earning the recognition as a High School All American and top 10 prospect in football Devon managed to also maintain a 3.9 GPA in high school. Devon chose to go to the University of Southern California where he graduated with his undergrad degree in Communication in 3 years. Upon finishing his undergrad degree, Devon immediately started his master degree in Communication Management with a focus on business management and he was able to earn his progressive masters degree in a year in a half while maintaining a 3.8 GPA. Devon is one of only a handful of players in the NFL to have already earned an undergrad and masters degree the day they were drafted. Once entering the NFL, Devon leveraged his communication skills and new platform to build business relationships that led him to become a real estate investor. Devon now has over $1.5 million in assets under management which does not include his passive real estate portfolio where he operates as a limited partner in commercial deals across the country.
In addition to his business endeavors Devon has been chosen as a team captain for the Detroit Lions for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. He has also been voted on by teammates to be an NFL Player Association rep for 5 consecutive seasons (2016-2020 seasons) by the NY Giants and Detroit Lions. This NFLPA nomination has allowed Devon to be an active participant in the business side of the NFL and he’s been able to vote on pressing issues throughout his time serving as the rep. Recently, Devon voted on the new collective bargaining agreement that will be in effect starting the 2021 season. Furthermore, Devon has dedicated himself to becoming an advocate for youth mentorship, education and literacy. His dedication to the youth led to the Detroit Lions nominated him as a 2019 Walter Payton Man of The Year nominee. This nomination is the most distinguished awards the NFL offers every year so to become a nominee and finalist speaks to the difference Devon has made. Now that Devon will be playing for the Arizona Cardinals for the 2020 season he is excited to begin to make an impact in the community he grew up and calls home.
Devon belongs to a family of footballers; his father played in the NFL 11 years and started for the Cowboys in the 1996 Super Bowl. Devon’s NFL career began in 2014 where he was the 174th draft pick (5th round) by the New York Giants. Devon’s NFL career progressed quickly, he earned a starting spot his rookie season and was voted NFC Defensive Player of Week December 7, 2014. Devon started for the Giants his entire time with the team from 2014-2017 totaling 203 tackles, 9 sacks and 1 interception. He is known for his versatility and ability to play as a linebacker and defensive end. This versatility led to the Detroit Lions signing Devon to a 3 year deal. Devon’s first year in Detroit was quite successful. He was voted team captain while also having his best NFL season at the time with 46 tackles and 7 sacks. In 2019 Devon put together an even better season by being nominated team captain for his second season in a row and racking up 1 touchdown, 58 tackles, 7 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 forced fumble and 9 tackles for loss. Devon parted ways with the Detroit Lions after the 2019 season and signed a new 3 year contract with the Arizona Cardinals. Signing with the Cardinals is significant for Devon and his family because Phoenix Arizona is his hometown where he spent his whole life and his father Derek played for the Arizona Cardinals as well making them only the 3rd father son combination to ever player for the Cardinals organization.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS THROUGH THE YEARS
- Keynote speaker at USC Athletic Fundraising event June 2013
- Voted team captain by coaches and players at USC 2013 season
- Keynote speaker at FCA fundraising event November 2015, December 2015
- Keynote speaker- Father Son breakfast AG Iona Prep HS January 2015
- Keynote iHorizon Church Kids Outreach program April 2015
- Keynote speaker- Desert Vista HS football team June 2015
- Voted team captain by coaches for NE GAME 2015 & Washington game i2015
- Main actor in Wendy’s fundraising Commercial raising money for foster kids in New Jersey November-January 2015
- Actor in Van HEUSEN Flex collar online commercial series September – November 2015
- Activist and promoter of NO MORE campaign against domestic violence August-November – 2015
- NFL Player Development job shadow – April – 2015
- ASU Athletic department job shadow – July – 2015
- Joyful heart foundation and NO MORE campaign spokesperson and donor – 2015
- Keynote speaker at AdvoCare promotional convention – January – 2016
- Invited to NFLPA Board Meetings – March – 2016
- Invited to align 5 entrepreneur camp in Keys Florida – February- 2016
- Speaker at monte vista Middle School – March 2016
- Speaker at Akimel A-al Middle Schools – March 2016
- Joyful heart foundation and NO MORE campaign spokesperson and donor – 2016
- Signed Multi year contract with Detroit Lions- March 2018
- Voted Team captain for Detroit Lions- August 2018
- Voted Team Man of the Year for Detroit Lions- December 2018
- Had career best season- 2018