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Former NFL QB talks draft process, life after football

During Super Bowl week in Phoenix, I enjoyed the chance to escort former NFL quarterback, Christian Ponder, around Radio Row to speak with reporters and show hosts. He spoke about his football career, his famous wife (Samantha Ponder is the host of ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown), their children and life after sports.

Christian Ponder, a first-round draft pick out of Florida State, recently launched The Post which is described on its website as “the only private membership designed to connect elite professionals built by sport.” Its concept is to connect “forever athletes,” regardless of gender, across industries.

Former first-round draft pick Christian Ponder (pictured with publicist, Gail Sideman) talks NFL Draft and life after football.

Christian was patient with the publicity and what can be a chaotic interview process for the better part of a day on Radio Row, so I appreciated the opportunity to ask him some questions regarding the 2023 NFL Draft. Enjoy our Q & A that includes thoughts about the draft process and how The Post came to be.

Gail: What’s the biggest misconception about the NFL Draft from the public’s and/or player’s perspective?

Christian: “What surprised me during my NFL Draft experience was how short-lived the celebration felt.  The 1st round of the Draft starts at 8 p.m. and after being selected as the 12th overall pick, I was on the first flight out to Minneapolis at 6 a.m. the next day. Reality hit me pretty quickly that I am now in a high-pressure job and the work starts ASAP.”

Gail: Is there a way to prepare for the NFL Draft after you’ve shown your worth in college?

Christian: “The common saying in football is that ‘the tape doesn’t lie.’  The vast majority of decisions on where or if a player will get drafted are decided by how they performed on the field during their college career. There have been a few exceptions to that rule where someone made headline news with their 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine or they blew NFL scouts away at the Senior Bowl, but those have been few and far between.”

Gail: How did the concept for The Post come about? 

Christian: “The idea for The Post originated in my own experience leaving football behind. I’ve been an athlete my whole life. It’s a huge part of my identity and story and I hated the fact that I was just supposed to leave that all in the past.

“Most importantly, I realized I missed being a part of the athlete community. Athletes made me better. I think we all made each other better. There is something very unique about getting together a bunch of competitive, driven, humble and ambitious people into a room. That’s what we had during our playing days.

“The Post brings that experience back. It’s a community of people who want to be the best at what they do, and they want the team around them to help them get there.”

Gail: If you had to do it all over again — career, post-career — is there anything you would have done differently?

Christian: “The one thing I would do differently is try to enjoy my career in the NFL more. I was so stressed about my performance that it was lost on me that I was actually fulfilling a childhood dream, so I do regret that. I would also have done more to prepare for life after sport. There is no better time to prepare for the transition out of sport than way before that transition ever happens.”

©Gail Sideman; 2023

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