In this episode of the Aww Shift Podcast, our guest is Marshall McFadden. He is a former American Football Linebacker and has played for the Los Angeles Rams, Las Vegas Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Toronto Argonauts. Today he is into the world of NASCAR, and he will share his journey on how he came from the Football field and got to the Race Tracks.
Why should we listen to you?
I’m a man of wisdom. My Dad always told me that I don’t always need to take heed of everything, but I should always listen. That’s something that I will take for the rest of my life, and if I feel like I need to pass knowledge down to somebody else and help somebody in some way, I think that they should hear what I got to say.
I’m from a small place called Lamar, South Carolina. Some people don’t have a clue where that place is so I would just say Columbia.
Lamar is a small town, and poverty was at its highest. It was just some things that I had to go through and some things that I had to overcome. Given my family background, I wasn’t given a head start like other people did where they had people come into their lives.
Moving in with his Foster Parents
I was dealing with some issues with my mouth where I needed surgery. I never had anybody to answer when it comes to that area, and it was getting a bad deal. Miss Cathy was the principal at the school, and she saw what I was going through, so she and her husband decided to help me.
When I got the surgery, I had an option. I needed to take care of myself, and Miss Cathy told me that I can go home where my family can handle the issue I have or stay with them to give me the attention that I needed.
I ended up staying with Miss Cathy and her husband, and then we just grew as a family. I became an excellent ballplayer in school and went to college and became an NFL player and all of that stuff. That’s the backbone of the story where I came about and moving in with them.
For me, it was s a grind, not because of the football deal, but just the injuries and overcoming a lot of obstacles in college. The atmosphere was great, and I met some good people, and I made some good friends. The Football was good too, but it was a grind for me because I just had to keep fighting to come back to be better than I was.
Getting into college was a win for me. I had no indication or thought of playing at the next level. Even in college, I just remember making it to the North-South All-Star Game, where I got the MVP. Then I started getting letters from everywhere which I wasn’t expecting. I guess my coach saw a talent in me.
Joining the Pittsburgh Steelers
When I got hurt my senior year, Dan Rooney, head scout of the Pittsburgh Steelers cam to our practice. I was watching my teammates play and had a conversation with him. After that, I knew I had an opportunity at the NFL because of the things I do on the field.
Two years later, the Steelers picked me up and signed me in a future contract. During that lockout season, I didn’t go anywhere. I was just at home training.
Leaving Football and discovering a new Passion
I was always battling. After going into my fourth season, I realized that it wasn’t for me because of all the red flags and injuries. It was not an easy pill to swallow, but it happens and you just got to know how to deal with that.
I decided to walk away from Football. I didn’t know what I would do at the time, but I knew I’d figure it out. A lot of people love people with grit. Companies love people that have been through things. So I knew that there would be opportunities for me out there, depending on the scenarios.
Some friends called me up and invited me to a NASCAR practice. I went out there and the atmosphere was full and alive. The races were coming in at 60 miles per hour, and everybody was in sync. People made a career out of that. People were getting paid for that, and that surprised me.
I just kept going down there. I went to practice, and the coach told me to get in the tracks. From that point on and into that following year, I signed a contract in February and now just completed my third season of going on to my fourth. It’s been a blessing ever since.