Brandon Copeland overcame the odds to make the NFL as an undrafted rookie back in 2013, and since then, he's stuck around as a veteran linebacker with six different teams, including the Falcons this year. But the 30-year-old former Jets standout has done just as much, if not more, off the field. In a special episode from CBS Sports' "How I Thrive" series presented by Visa and Capital One, Copeland said recently that football is merely what "feeds" his growing business "empire."
"Football is my lifeblood," Copeland said. "That's what feeds a lot of the different things that I'm doing off of the field, so that is (my) priority. My money has to be working for me at all times."
"When I signed my first contract," he explained, "technically I was a millionaire. I signed a three-year, $1.45 million deal. And unfortunately, I saw 24,000 of those dollars before being fired the first time. It encouraged me to make sure that I got just as much out of football as football is getting out of me."
Copeland parlayed knowledge from college banking internships into a gig teaching financial literacy at his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. And now, with more money flowing in from the NFL, he serves as the CEO of Copeland Media, otherwise known as the Cascade Advisory Group, a financial consulting firm that includes "Life 101" classes designed to set students "financially free." He's also partnered with Emile, an online education service, to create financial education courses for high school students.
On the field, Copeland has a $990,000 base salary with the Falcons this year. Prior to signing with Atlanta this offseason, he spent time with the Patriots (2020), Jets (2018-2019) and Lions (2015-2017). He originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with the Ravens.