Many retired NFL players find their second act in coaching, sports media or small business — not working for a small tech start-up.
But former San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis wouldn't have it any other way.
For the past few months, Willis has been working for Open Source Storage, a start-up specializing in cloud technology. He is the EVP of strategic partnerships.
"I think my proudest accomplishment is being here," Willis told CNBC.
Willis announced his retirement from the league in March 2015, ending an eight-year career at age 30. Sustaining multiple injuries contributed to his decision, but so did the desire for something new, he said.
The tough part was figuring out what came next.