MIAMI GARDENS — The Miami Dolphins in partnership with Athlete Transition U hosted their 2019 Dolphins Business Combine from February 25 – February 28 to promote and support player engagement. Stephen Ross kicked off the combine on Monday, Feb. 25 and throughout the week, players participated in seminars on negotiation, networking and venue tours. The multi-day event provided players with direct access to best-in-class business leaders, internships with companies of their interests throughout South Florida and a finale of a business accelerator where each respective group pitched in front of an audience and panel of judges.
Ross created the event to provide unique opportunities for his players' development on the field and set them up for their post-playing career. In its third year, the combine is designed to help advance current and former Dolphins players who have shown interest in areas such as real estate, technology, business operations, business development and investing.
"Players are passionate about what they are doing, and they are great at what they do. The question is – what do you do with that passion or how do you find that passion when your football career is over? I think that's one of the responsibilities as an owner, you care about your players," Ross said. "What I hope to help with is when these guys are no longer playing, how they can win in life after football. It's great to put together this business combine to enlighten and show what the opportunities are when they are no longer playing. When their playing days are over, they can enter the business field and be successful."
In total, 26 current Miami Dolphins players participated in the combine, including Kiko Alonso, Isaac Asiata, Jerome Baker, Jalen Davis, John Denney, A.J. Derby, Kenyan Drake, David Fales, Luke Falk, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Mike Gesicki, Davon Godchaux, Matt Haack, Charles Harris, Connor Hilland, Xavien Howard, Bobby McCain, T.J. McDonald, Durham Smythe, Kenny Stills, Travis Swanson, Cordrea Tankersley, Vincent Taylor, Cam Wake, Jonathan Woodard and Sam Young in an effort to increase their South Florida network, increase their business acumen and gain exposure to other possible industries of interest.
"Through the support of Stephen Ross and his unwavering commitment to developing our players both on and off the field, we were able to bring the Dolphins Business Combine to South Florida this year. To have 26 players commit to a week-long immersive business combine is a testament to Ross and the entire Dolphins organization," Dolphins Director of Player Engagement Kaleb Thornhill said. "It's a blessing to work for an organization and for an owner that believes in life-long learning and development both on and off the field."
The combine concluded with a special business combine blitz investment seminar and competition led by guest judges Hard Rock Stadium and Miami Dolphins Vice Chair, President & CEO Tom Garfinkel, RSE Ventures Co-Founder Matt Higgins, Goldman Properties CEO Jessica Goldman Srebnick and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jason Taylor. The event was held at Hard Rock Stadium on Thursday, Feb. 28 and included insightful elements of communication, design thinking, public speaking, pitching, innovation and collaboration.0
"We have had an opportunity this week to learn from Mr. Ross and really grow and develop our brand and focus on our mind set after football. It's great to have the support of Mr. Ross and the whole Dolphins organization – you can tell they really care about us beyond football. That really means a lot," Baker said. "It shares how special and privileged we are to play for an organization like this. It's been really a blessing to have that support. For me, I just had to take advantage of it."