Greg Jones is a Veteran of the United States Navy and a graduate of the United States Naval Academy where he played wide receiver for the Midshipman. Greg now host’s the Authentic Athletes Podcast where he interviews professional and college athletes with the goal of providing fun, motivating and educational experiences for listeners based on the life lessons learned by his interviewees. I came across Greg's podcast on Instagram and was immediately blown away by the guests he has had on the show. As I dug a little deeper into Greg's story and mission, I realized we are fighting the same fight when it comes to the athlete and veteran transition, both of which he has experienced first-hand. If you are a fan of this podcast, I have no doubt you will also find value in Authentic Athletes.
Every kid who grows up playing football in the backyard dreams of one day scoring a touchdown either for, or against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Greg lived out this childhood dream by scoring on a 52 yard reception, and this is where we start the interview; Greg takes us through the play and what set him loose in the secondary to reel in a money ball from QB Rickey Dobbs. You can watch the play in the video below, and if that doesn't get you jacked up on life, I don't know what the hell will.
Greg was recruited as a quarterback out of high school, but having played multiple sports, coaches viewed him as a well rounded athlete, capable of playing any role on the field. This versatility came into play in football after being moved to running back and then to wide-out and then again in his military career. These translatable skills that athletes forge through their sports serve as the foundation for the Authentic Athletes Podcast.
During our discussion, we talk in depth about Greg's transition to life after football and eventually his transition to civilian life. When it came to life after football, having the title of Naval Officer and First Lieutenant aboard a Minesweeper eased his transition. However, when football season rolled around, Greg coped with missing the game by calling up his teammates and reminiscing. After serving in the military Greg followed his entrepreneurial spirit to the start-up world. This transition came a little earlier than anticipated because of a back injury that proved to be very difficult for Greg, especially in terms of having to now sell himself and be a self promoter. As Greg eventually found out, this struggle is not uncommon. He would frequently receive calls from his buddies who were looking for advice as some of them began to leave the Navy. This is where the idea for the Authentic Athletes Podcast came from. Despite all the valuable lessons and leadership training the military provides, resources for the transition to civilian life are lacking. Greg is now providing that outlet to ease the struggle for others. Here is a link to all of Greg's interviews to date: PODCAST EPISODES. Some of his previous guests include:
Navy Football Head Coach
National Soccer Hall of Fame - Class of 2016; U.S. Women's National Soccer Team
Army Football Head Coach
6-Time MLS Cup Champion; 4-Time US Soccer Athlete of the Year; US Men's National Team - World Cup '02, '06, '10
3-Time NFL All-Pro
Air Force Football Head Coach
Greg was able to stay relatively injury free throughout his career and we discuss strategies for longevity in sports and football in particular. Along these lines, we finish this episode by discussing our thoughts on health & safety and the future of football. Greg believes the state of safety in football and the future of the game is ultimately on the player.
Injured or not, at some point the game ends for everyone. I have no doubt Greg's podcast will teach you how apply the tools you learned on the field or on the court to succeed in the next phase of your life - whatever that may be.