What do professional football playing, drug counseling and mortgage banking have in common? They are all fields Mark McCutcheon has worked in.
Once a Green Bay Packer, McCutcheon, 35, is currently a loan officer for Household Financial Corp.
Still, six months out of the year he is a strong safety for the Central Penn Piranha. The Harrisburg, Penn. team dubs itself the Winningest Team in Minor League History -- compiling a 126-8 record during its nine-season existence, including an 83-0 at home -- according to the team's Web site.
While Washington D.C.-based McCutcheon said he has been in the mortgage business for four years, he has played football at an organized level since he was seven years old. He started playing professionally in 1991, when right after college he was drafted by Green Bay. He then played in what is now the NFL Europe for three years. Afterwards, McCutcheon joined the NAFL, or North American Football League, initially with a Washington D.C. team, then with a Louisiana team that won him his first minor league championship. He has acquired three more since joining the Piranha in 1997.
Despite that playing for Central Penn means he has to drive two hours or more each way to get to practice and games, McCutcheon said he joined the team because he likes to win. But digging deeper, even though he doesn't "get paid a dime" for playing in the minor leagues, he said he simply does it "for the love of the game."
Football does not cover the expensive tastes McCutcheon says he has acquired over the years, which is one of the main reasons he chose mortgage banking over other alternatives.
"Its kind of twofold," explained McCutcheon. "Its a type of business where you can help people, and the flipside is that you can make a lot of money."
But, how exactly did he transition into the industry after playing for the NFL?
Before deciding to go into mortgage banking "cold turkey," McCutcheon said he worked as a drug counselor. He went the different route when one of his clients graduated from his program, and just two weeks afterward "blew his brains out."
"It hit me in a little depressive state," said McCutcheon. "I carried that guilt that I couldn't help him so I decided to get out of the business and into another arena where I could help people."
McCutcheon began his loan officer career at a friend's brokerage business.
"I went almost for six months without even closing a loan because I basically didn't know what I was doing," said the football player. "Once I picked up the terminology, and the ins and outs of the industry, then I started making some money. I liked what I saw so I just stayed with it."
The football player said he now considers himself a good loan officer. "Time is everything, time is money" in the mortgage industry, he pointed out when explaining how he juggles between the two interests once football season rolls around. He structures as many loans as he can on non-practice days. He leaves the meetings with clients for the two days during the week when he has practice and has to head out of town. Training is cut to one day a week once the games begin, which are played Saturday.
But McCutcheon will not continue the tough schedule for long; this May he will begin what will be his last season playing football on a professionally organized level.
"I'm getting old," he said with a laugh. "I'm going to give it my last shot and hopefully I could come out with another championship and that'll be it."
However, the former NFL player has no plans to leave the mortgage industry soon -- as his long term goal is to have his own mortgage business.
"My intention is to stay in this business as long as it allows me to," concluded McCutcheon.