Ethan Inman 10th Mar 2022

Every USC fan should take pride in Devon Kennard. 

Kennard has quietly been one of the best athletes — and people — that the Trojan Family can claim as one of their own. Quietly is the key word though — Kennard gets less recognition than other USC alumni. So why has a hero fallen below our gaze? 

He is a decorated football player, a successful academic and one of the NFL’s most generous philanthropists. He exemplifies what it means to be a Trojan, overcoming physical challenges with a fighting spirit, winning attitude and a heart that gives back. 

Trojan fans should know. They have witnessed his excellence since he was the second-best high school prospect to come to the Trojans in 2009. His career at USC had an exciting first season, when he made the Pac-10 All-Freshman first team and won USC’s John McKay award, given to the underclassman with the most competitive spirit.

His next two seasons were productive, but he sat out the 2012 season with an injury. Yet, instead of allowing himself to be discouraged by his injury, Kennard saw an opportunity to redshirt that season and retain a year of football eligibility. 

He returned to the team in 2013 – his best season yet – and finished the season on the All-Pac-12 second team in a bowl-winning season.

He went on to complete his master’s degree in communication management with a focus in business management. 

It would be logical to assume Kennard was a top prospect in the 2014 NFL Draft considering the resume he built in school, and indeed, scouts were impressed by his intangible leadership and professionalism. 

However, they were concerned by his physical attributes, namely his lack of explosiveness and body length and injury history. He fell to the fifth round, where he was drafted 174th overall by the New York Giants. 

Football is certainly a contact sport where physical gifts can be advantageous, but the physical nature of the sport can cause scouts to overlook an athlete’s attitude, which usually turns out to be even more important. 

Kennard’s character has carried him to successes no one thought he could have achieved. He immediately outplayed the scouts’ projection that he would be on the bench or practice squad, becoming a starter before the end of his rookie season. He continued to start his entire Giants career, through the 2017 season. 

He signed with the Detroit Lions in 2018, and  was immediately voted team captain by his new teammates. He remained team captain in 2019 and was even his team’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award nominee, an award that recognizes one player from each team every season who teammates believe is most exemplary in their off-the-field charity work.

During his time in Detroit, he created the Devon Kennard Scholarship Fund for underserved youth in association with the Midnight Golf Program, was instrumental in the launch of the Lions’ social justice initiative Detroit Lions Inspire Change and volunteered at the “Hogs and Dawgs” Lineman Academy. 

Kennard has enjoyed a career of success while being a role model, and his master’s degree has led to a second career in real estate investing. 

He’s a USC football great on and off the field. 

However, you won’t find Kennard on lists of the top 10 USC athletes or even the top 50 USC football players of all time. So, again, why isn’t he a household name when his career is so remarkable?

Kennard has been a star his whole NFL career, but for subpar franchises who have endured several losing seasons. It’s difficult to recognize individual greatness in an unremarkable group. In addition, Kennard has always dealt with injuries, but a few absences shouldn’t make it difficult to appreciate his play when he is healthy. 

It is especially hard to understand why his name isn’t mentioned among the greats of USC when his character should stand out among so many other USC athletic alumni who were infamous for difficult demeanors or allegations of immoral behavior. So, the question becomes rhetorical. Why isn’t Kennard one of our heroes? 

Kennard, being a person of character, is probably content with flying under the radar, but humble people are exactly the kind of people who should be celebrated. 

Maybe 2022 will be the year Kennard’s greatness is fully recognized. 

He is playing in his home state with the Arizona Cardinals; he has an opportunity to be a leader on a young, exciting team that could make a deep playoff run and most importantly, he’s in a prove-it year. His contract expires after this season, so he needs to play at a high level to entice the Cardinals or another team to sign him in 2023. 

Luckily, Kennard has been showing since 2013 that he’s at his best when he has something to prove. 

It’s yet another admirable trait of his.

Ted B. Kissell 16th Feb 2022

Coming into his senior year on the USC football team, linebacker Devon Kennard was ready to set himself up for a career in the National Football League. Then, while lifting weights, he tore a pectoral muscle, a season-ending injury.

“It was devastating,” he recalled. “A lot of people wrote off my NFL career after that pec injury — and I definitely had my own doubts. To overcome those dark times, my mindset was: Control what I can control, glorify God and be relentless in the way that I pursue my dreams every day.”

Driven by the work ethic he’d learned from his father — 11-year NFL pro Derek Kennard — Kennard redshirted his senior year to recover from his injury and complete his bachelor’s degree in communication in 2012. 

“That year I was injured really made it clear that I needed to take everything I was doing off the field as serious as I took everything on the field,” he said. “I knew I wanted to be successful, whether I had a 10-year career in the NFL, or I didn’t make it to the NFL at all.”

He then applied to and was accepted into the communication management master’s program and played his final year of eligibility as a graduate student. Not only did he earn his master’s degree in 2013, his outstanding play that year led the New York Giants to select him in the fifth round in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Building a reputation as a tough, disciplined defender, Kennard joined the Detroit Lions as a free agent in 2018. Now playing for the Arizona Cardinals in his hometown of Phoenix, Kennard has paired his on-field success with success in business as a real estate investor and a philanthropist. He’s also a soon-to-be author, with a deal from HarperCollins to write a book about personal development and financial literacy. Kennard attributes his off-field achievements to his own drive, to the education he received at USC Annenberg, and to the networking efforts that started during his college years.

“I built relationships with a lot of USC alumni as I tried to figure out what I was interested in doing in the business world,” he said. Though he wasn’t sure what enterprise would be the best fit, he knew that his communication degrees gave him the skills he needed to understand sales, marketing and how to put together a business plan.

“Annenberg gave me all the tools I needed in my toolbox when it comes to communicating,” he said. “Some of the broadcasting classes helped me realize that I’m constantly selling myself, whether it’s an interview after a game or going to a networking event for business opportunities.”

After his rookie year, Kennard began going to real estate meetups in Phoenix, where he was connected with another investor — a fellow Trojan — who helped him buy his first property: a single-family home in Indianapolis. “Eight years later, I’m in over 50 real estate deals, and I own 20 properties on my own,” he said. “Finding success in business has made me realize I have purpose in my life that is not attached to being a professional athlete.”

Another one of those purposes is community service: At every stop in his NFL career, Kennard has targeted his philanthropy toward after-school and mentoring programs for at-risk students.

“My passion for working with kids comes from what I’ve learned about the importance of financial independence and financial literacy,” he said. “In our country, and especially in minority communities, I don’t think families talk about finances enough — it’s kind of taboo to talk about those things. I want to flip that on its head and be one of the people who is bridging that gap.”

In 2019, his work with an after-school program in Detroit earned him a nomination as a finalist for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award, which recognizes both community service off the field and excellence on the field.

“That really was the proudest moment of my career,” Kennard said. “I want to impact kids’ lives. That’s part of why I’m on this Earth.” 

Listen to Devon on the Real Wealth Show: Real Estate Investing Podcast

Episode Description: It’s not every day that we have a professional football player on our show to talk about real estate investing. But today, you’ll hear from linebacker, Devon Kennard, on financial literacy and how he’s creating long-term wealth with real estate. You don’t have to be a football player to do what he is doing, although a higher paycheck may speed things up a bit.

Learn more from Devon: Devon provides money and financial tricks and tips for all to help see through financial long-term growth. Devon provides insights and shares passive income and generational wealth strategies for all. Information is key, stay informed by subscribing to Devon’s Newsletter and the Devon Kennard YouTube Channel and join us as we grow together as a community.

#finances #wisemoney #generationalwealth #smartmoney #advice #investments #mailboxmoney #realestate #investing #money # #nfl #mentor #resources #beinformed #advantage

Kyle Odegard Last updated 28th Jan 2022

When the world learned that Russell Okung had converted half of his annual NFL salary to Bitcoin in December of 2020, it was met with equal parts pessimism and confusion.

But the Pro Bowl offensive tackle proved to be ahead of the curve, as the investment has more than doubled, and now other players are following his lead.

Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. announced last week that he was taking his Los Angeles Rams salary in Bitcoin in a collaboration with CashApp.

Beckham, Okung, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Giants running back Saquon Barkley are among the NFL players who have vocally supported cryptocurrency, and Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Devon Kennard believes more will be jumping on board.

“There are a lot of guys who understand and believe in crypto and the direction it’s going,” Kennard told Bankless Times. “If you’re going to dive into that space — if you’re doing your due diligence to learn about it to find the best opportunities, whether to invest in Bitcoin, Ethereum or some of the other coins — I think there’s great opportunity there. It’s not going anywhere, and it’s something that I think you’re going to see more and more guys get involved in.”

The Staples Center was recently renamed Crypto.com, the latest example of the digital currency’s mainstream movement. The rapid expansion could allow for more partnerships between companies in the space and professional athletes interested in it.

“I don’t know the details of [Beckham’s] deal or anyone else’s, but I’d like to assume that it’s mutually beneficial,” Kennard said. “These companies are able to get the exposure — I saw Aaron Rodgers do something recently. I’ve seen Odell. They are able to bring a lot of exposure to the crypto space and whatever company is partnering with them. I wouldn’t be surprised if those athletes are getting paid in crypto in some capacity. It’s providing a unique opportunity for athletes to get in that space and benefit from companies that are trying to push their crypto products out there more. It seems very synergistic right now, and I think you’ll see more of that coming in the next year or two.”

Kennard has a keen interest in investing, though his preference has always been real estate because he likes purchasing rental properties that will give him a cash flow after retirement. As the years have gone on, Kennard has also started to branch out into different areas.

“I built a good foundation there, and now it’s, ‘OK, let me invest a little in the stock market,’” Kennard said. “I’m even getting into startups and venture capital. I’m starting to look into crypto more.”

Kennard has seen his younger teammates become interested in investing during the crypto boom and says the intrigue extends beyond the players in the locker room.

“I think with how decentralized it is, it’s providing an opportunity for athletes, and really anyone, to invest from their couch,” Kennard said. “I think apps like Robinhood and some of the other apps that are allowing crypto — Coinbase and some of the other services — allow you to [invest easily]. Before, to make investments, you had to get a bank account, talk to somebody, do this or that. Now people are able to be grabbing lunch and look at the price of Bitcoin, then say, ‘You know what? I’m going to put $5,000 in just because I feel like it today.’ 

“I think we’re at a unique time in the world, where the ease to invest and being able to do it from your phone at any time, mixed in with the crypto space that’s a cool, trendy thing to invest in — it’s a new technology that a lot of people are extremely excited about and curious. I think that provides an opportunity for athletes, especially, who typically have enough cash to make certain moves. It’s really compelling to get involved in.”

When Kennard’s NFL teammates ask him about converting their salary into Bitcoin or otherwise investing in cryptocurrency, he gives them some simple but important advice.

“I definitely don’t recommend investing in crypto unless you’re going to be in it for the long haul,” Kennard said. “If you’re able to make big wins along the way and draw some money out, great, but you have to think more long-term if you’re going to make that investment. The crypto space and NFTs have been very good to those willing to hold on and play the game correctly.”

NFL Linebacker and Entrepreneur Devon Kennard Invests in Fitnescity

Devon Kennard, NFL linebacker and entrepreneur, invests in high-growth wellness software company, Fitnescity. (Photo: Business Wire)

Devon Kennard, NFL linebacker and entrepreneur, invests in high-growth wellness software company, Fitnescity. (Photo: Business Wire)

 

Read on BusinessWire

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Devon Kennard is a new investor in Fitnescity, a rapidly growing software company that makes health and wellness testing available to everyday consumers, and then provides test results that are both easy to understand and track.

“I found Fitnescity when I was searching for a way to better understand my health and body composition. Being a professional athlete there are many ways for developing athletically, but none are better than taking care of your body physically and mentally and tracking your progress”

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Fitnescity serves as a national aggregator of local clinics and labs, as well as a personal data analytics platform that helps people gain insights into their wellness. Customers can pick among a variety of tests and access their results through the Fitnescity wellness platform, which then presents complex health findings as easy-to-understand results.

“The results of these tests can support decisions about training regimens, nutrition plans, and also help people better understand and monitor personal health risks,” said Fitnescity Co-Founder and CEO, Laila Zemrani.

Fitnescity is the newest investment of Kennard, an outside linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL). He is also an entrepreneur with a real estate portfolio of over fifty properties and a global book deal with HarperCollins for Business/Finance/Investing. The decision to invest in a wellness software company came about naturally for Kennard.

“I found Fitnescity when I was searching for a way to better understand my health and body composition. Being a professional athlete there are many ways for developing athletically, but none are better than taking care of your body physically and mentally and tracking your progress,” said Kennard.

In January, Kennard scheduled tests through the website for a location in Scottsdale, AZ. He later put the results of the test to use:

“My results gave me a starting point and allowed me to set a goal for the rest of the year. Based on my results I adjusted my training regimen, eating routine and sleep schedule. The results of the tests were easy to understand. I don’t want to have to go to a doctor to understand what my labs mean. I want to be able to look at the information, understand it and be able to revisit it at any time. Fitnescity allows me to do this.”

Zemrani developed the wellness platform to address these challenges and has taken action to reach more individuals:

“Devon recognizes the importance of making it easy for people to access critical information to improve their health. We’re excited he’s joined us in helping others realize it.”

Kennard is not alone in recognizing Fitnescity’s value. Fitnescity currently serves customers nationwide through a network of hundreds of partner locations, and is rapidly expanding both in geography and in its services. The company has recently signed a major partnership with leading laboratory test provider Quest Diagnostics, bringing a variety of new tests and thousands of new locations under the Fitnescity platform.

About Fitnescity

Fitnescity believes consumers should have easy access to, and understanding of, wellness testing. Partnering with local clinics, leading labs and health systems nationwide, Fitnescity offers consumer-facing tests that enable consumers to be proactive about their wellness.

www.fitnescity.com

Devon as Speaker on Investing As An Athlete for NFLPA Summer Series

Devon joins the first-ever NFLPA Summer Series on Clubhouse line-up to speak on investing. The NFLPA Summer Series is a six-week series with the purpose of fostering player-to-player community and conversation. Devon and Green Bay Packer, Oren Burks, discuss personal investment ventures and principles and experiences for financial success.

#finances #wisemoney #generationalwealth #smartmoney #advice #investments #mailboxmoney #realestate #investing #money # #nfl #mentor #resources #beinformed #investing #athlete

Listen to Devon on Money Rehab with Nicole Lapin, iHeart Media

Episode Description: Not only is Devon Kennard the linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals, but he’s also a philanthropist, real estate investor, soon-to-be financial author and now, Money Rehabber! Listen up for his real estate hacks, tips for negotiating contracts, and more.

Learn more from Devon: Professional athlete or not, Devon provides money and financial tricks and tips for all to help see through financial long-term growth. Devon provides insights and shares passive income and generational wealth strategies for all. Information is key, stay informed by subscribing to Devon’s Newsletter and the Devon Kennard YouTube Channel and join us as we grow together as a community.

#finances #wisemoney #generationalwealth #smartmoney #advice #investments #mailboxmoney #realestate #investing #money # #nfl #mentor #resources #beinformed #advantage

Devon sits down with Dan Thompson of Wise Money Tools to discuss the professional athlete experience with instant wealth and smart ways to manage it.

If you are a professional athlete, knowing what resources are available to you is paramount. To get started here is My Advice to NFL Players on taking advantage of resources for professional athletes and how Tethering Life Goals to Making it Pro is a powerful practice. Devon regularly shares and discusses building passive income and generational wealth for all – professional athletes or not. Information is key, stay informed by subscribing to Devon’s Newsletter and the Devon Kennard YouTube Channel and join us as we grow together as a community.

#wisemoney #generationalwealth #smartmoney #advice #investments #investing #money # #nfl #mlb #nba #mentor #resources #beinformed #advantage

Devon sits down with Dan Thompson of Wise Money Tools to discuss the professional athlete experience with instant wealth and smart ways to manage it.

If you are a professional athlete, knowing what resources are available to you is paramount. To get started here is My Advice to NFL Players on taking advantage of resources for professional athletes and how Tethering Life Goals to Making it Pro is a powerful practice. Devon regularly shares and discusses building passive income and generational wealth for all – professional athletes or not. Information is key, stay informed by subscribing to Devon’s Newsletter and the Devon Kennard YouTube Channel and join us as we grow together as a community.

#wisemoney #generationalwealth #smartmoney #advice #investments #investing #money # #nfl #mlb #nba #mentor #resources #beinformed #advantage

As an NFL player, we have so many resources at our disposal. But through my 8 year NFL career I’ve realized that not only do most guys not take advantage of all the resources, but the majority of players are not even aware of what they are. So here are a few tips that I recommend to every player in the league!

In addition to professional resources, in my video Tethering Life Goals to making it Pro helps shed light on a powerful advantage.

#nfl #mlb #nba #mentor #leadership #goals #resources #advantages