Former New York Jets left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson is chasing a new goal. In a recent episode of the "NFL Players: Second Acts" podcast, the three-time Pro Bowler said he is going to nursing school.
"I just needed that sense of, 'I think I can do this,'" Ferguson said.
Ferguson's entry into the medical field is somewhat of a full-circle moment. When he was just nine years old, he needed open-heart surgery to save his life. Now, the 39-year-old is aiming to help heal others.
D’Brickashaw Ferguson played 10 years in the @nfl for the @nyjets Now he’s going to nursing school. This man is the true essence of the phrase “More then an athlete.” Congrats bro 👏🏿 🚨Check us out🚨 #NFLPlayersSecondActs @Harp41 pic.twitter.com/isu8K1yzXt— Charles Tillman (@peanuttillman) May 26, 2023
After playing for the Virginia Cavaliers from 2002-2005, Ferguson began his NFL career as the fourth overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. He was selected by the New York Jets and that's where he spent his entire career.
The left tackle registered an impressive 160 consecutive starts and never missed a game. He played 10,707 out of 10,708 regular season offensive snaps -- with the only one he missed being in the final game of the 2008 season when the Jets wanted to run a lateral play in a last-ditch effort to get a win over the Miami Dolphins.
Ferguson announced his retirement in April 2016. Virginia has retired his No. 66 jersey, and he was inducted into the Jets Ring of Honor in 2022. But now it's time for a new adventure.
Ferguson said he attended community college to take care of some prerequisites for nursing schools. During his time at UVA, he earned a religious studies degree.
"I hadn't done science since, I don't know, high school," Ferguson said. "So my confidence in that space was like, 'I don't know if I can do this.' UVA was hard for me."
Ultimately, Ferguson decided to go for it and started with one class at a time. His dedication to his studies have paid off so far. He is done with all the prerequisites and got into several nursing programs. The former NFL star is going to officially get this new chapter started in the fall.
Ferguson said he is excited about the opportunity to study in the medical field and to also have options of what he can do with his nursing degree, such as working as a nurse practitioner or in urgent care.
"I wanted something that I could offer. Like, yes I play football, but I have this," Ferguson said. "I'm qualified to do this work and I play football. So if both of them help or encourage one another, great. But even without football I can still do my job with excellence, that's something we learned as athletes."