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Full Circle

By Angela Charlton, PhD
Manager of Player Engagement

“I want to express my gratitude and appreciation for helping me through this period of transition. Your insight and words of encouragement were so invaluable to me” - David Thornton, Director of Player Engagement, Indianapolis Colts, Former NFL Player

David Thornton discusses the invaluable role that Tina Tuggle, Director of Player Engagement (DPE) for the Tennessee Titans, played in his transition from the NFL to his current role as a DPE. Additionally he states, “During this transition, there were many other individuals who reached out to me to offer insight and guidance… in no particular order — Troy Vincent (VP of Player Engagement), Harry Swayne (DPE, Baltimore Ravens), Arthur Hightower (DPE, San Diego Chargers), Kaleb Thornhill (DPE, Miami Dolphins), and Charles Way (DPE, New York Giants)… “

David has come full circle from a player to now serving in the position of Director of Player Engagement to provide those services and support he once received from Tina to the players in Indianapolis. David states, “Tina quickly reminded of all the things I had already accomplished that made me an ideal fit for the position. Because she was my DPE for four years, Tina’s unique perspective provided me the affirmation and peace I needed. Furthermore, Tina gave me hands-on experience in Tennessee while I was still an active player. She referred several players in my direction for guidance and allowed me to facilitate workshops for the rookies during the offseason. When she recapped all those things, coupled with her own personal advice, I really felt a strong conviction that I was equipped to be a DPE.”

“My role as a DPE is simple – SERVE!  I am here to ensure that our players are served in every area that is vital in helping them enter and exit the NFL successfully. Player Engagement becomes transformational in the lives of the players. We are equipping these men with tools that are eternal, not temporal.”

Any transition can be tough, and transitions for a professional athlete can come with some very unique emotional, mental, and physical challenges. One of the best ways to handle any transition is preparation! Why wait until after your NFL experience is over to prepare for these challenges – start preparing now! The Director of Player Engagement at your club is an excellent resource to assist you with transitioning in and out of the NFL as well as with any off-the-field issue that occurs while playing.

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