Marco Coleman stood on the stage in the Willie Brown Auditorium Wednesday morning, clicker in hand, and delivered a presentation to the Oakland Raiders rookie class.
Nothing too out of the ordinary there, but after a closer look at the information Coleman was presenting, the day’s curriculum proved to be anything but ordinary for an assistant defensive line coach.
Coleman wasn’t presenting the rookies with information regarding Defensive Coordinator Paul Guenther’s scheme, or even general, football technique. Instead, his hour-long talk focused on financial literacy, and the importance of being educated when it comes to how your money is handled.
“Right now, the NFL is in a great place as far as it pertains to the resources that these guys have,” Coleman, who spoke to the rookies as part of the team’s “Raiders Academy,” said.
And while there are unquestionably a plethora of quality resources available for any NFL rookie, with Coleman on staff, the Raiders rookies have a unique one at their disposal.
Originally drafted in the first round (No. 12 overall) of the 1992 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins, Coleman played 14 seasons in the league, but it was a moment towards the end of his career that really shaped what he would do after his playing days came to a close.
While a member of the Denver Broncos, Coleman saw several of his teammates victimized by a man who allegedly had their best financial interests in mind; obviously, he did not, and at that point, the former first-round pick decided that it was time to take control of his own financial future.
“You get to the point where you have a few experiences, and you think you know more than you do, until you come across a crook, someone that’s spending all their time on how to figure out how to do something wrong to people, as opposed to the right thing, and if you don’t know, or aren’t aware of those red flags, it can cost you,” Coleman explained. “It was a significant moment in my life that changed me to get a lot more clear understanding as to what I need to know and what I don’t know.”
After the doors closed on his playing career, Coleman’s life shifted immensely; he dove headfirst into finance, taking a job at Merrill Lynch, before ultimately becoming Managing Partner at Matador Financial.
So how exactly does a Level 2 Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) – a certification that Coleman still holds today – get back into coaching professional football?
Timing and opportunity.
“I was coaching then, I was just coaching in the financial services industry, but now, this is my comfort zone,” Coleman said of his return to the sideline. “This is my passion. This is what I spent the majority of my life [working] to do, and with work, trying to get back into it for several years now… It was an easy transition. I’m still learning some things, but I can walk on the football field. That’s an easy deal.”
While it might be hard to think of two worlds further apart than finance and the NFL, Coleman says that the skills to thrive in both are remarkably similar, and that the overlap has helped him in both facets of his professional life.
“Just like the markets, they’re ever-changing, because you’re going to have new prices, and new things, new news, and every week there’s a new [challenge] because we’re playing a different team, and they’re doing something different,” Coleman said. “The circumstances change during the course of a game, so being able to be nimble, and adjust is extremely important, not only in the financial industry, but on the football field.”
While Coleman now gets paid to help the Raiders defensive linemen crack the code of taking down the opposing quarterback, another aspect of his job that he takes an equal amount of pride in is teaching his players the importance of life off the field as well, because at the end of the day, Marco Coleman is a coach.
“Once I really dove into it, I said here’s an opportunity where I can really give back to young men the information I wish I would have had when I was younger, and so I’m preparing them, and setting them up to avoid the pitfalls that I had to learn,” Coleman stated. “I love it, and like I said, it’s coaching. It’s all coaching, whether it be financial, or showing Arden [Key] how to take the proper step and technique, it’s all coaching.”
And if all goes to plan, as many sacks as Arden Key, or any other Raider, gets during their career in Silver and Black, that won’t be the lasting impact they take away from their time with Marco Coleman.
Oakland Raiders rookies attend talks and activities throughout the week to better prepare themselves for life in the NFL, while they're parents and family members attend Rookie Family Boot Camp at Raiders HQ.