Tennessee Titan Karim Barton Is Already Preparing for Life After Football

Karim Barton, who was born in Brooklyn, but raised in Jamaica, meets with Congressman Anthony Brown, who is also of Jamaican descent. Standing in the center is Maia Hunt Estes, Brown’s Chief of Staff. André Chung

Once the rush of scoring touchdowns is over, what’s next?

That’s the question that Tennessee Titan Karim Barton is hoping to find an answer to.

When the 6-foot-3, 313 pound NFL lineman isn’t tackling opponents on the field, he is tackling opportunities head on and thinking about his next journey. He is living out his dream on a national playing field now, but knows that dream could end at any moment.

“The NFL is just a short period of my time,” Barton said. “You never know, it could be an injury or it could be a cut or you could get released. Anything could happen.”

So before his time is up, he is hitting the career field running. The 25-year-old is taking advantage of the NFL Players Association Externship program, which allows NFL players to gain experience outside of football through internships with various companies. He’s interned at Under Armour, Fanatics, Mattress Firm, he just spent the past three weeks on Capitol Hill. Going into his fourth season in the NFL, he wants to seize every opportunity.

“I’m just trying to find that one passion other than football. Because it’s what gets me up in the morning to go to work, to compete, and all that kind of stuff, but on the outside, I’m just taking advantage of this opportunity to find that one thing that I can say, ‘Yes that’s me 100%’ where I can get up and be passionate about it.”

Learning the ins and outs of politics, Barton has been shadowing Rep. Yvette D. Clarke, doing research on issues such as immigration, and attending meetings. Last week he attended Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress — which he called “eye opening,” sat in on the anti-doping hearing where Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps testified, and interacted with Clarke’s constituents at a town hall in Brooklyn, NY.

Raised in Kingston, Jamaica, Barton has also helped with research on a resolution to exonerate Jamaican civil rights activist Marcus Garvey. Congresswoman Clarke says he has adapted to the political environment “like a fish in water.”

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Source: NBC News |  CHANDELIS R. DUSTER