VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Ex-NFL Player Trent Shelton On New Book ‘The Greatest You,’ Bouncing Back From Adversity
Trent Shelton started his career as an NFL player but has more recently found his calling as a motivational speaker and author.
The 34-year-old former Washington Redskins wide receiver talked to uInterview exclusively about his new book, The Greatest You: Face Reality, Release Negativity and Live Your Purpose.
Shelton revealed sports have been a part of his life since he was about 5 years old. After earning a scholarship to play at Baylor University, a private Christian college in Texas, Shelton went undrafted to the Indianapolis Colts in 2007.
“I thought I would get drafted,” he said. “[I was] supposed to go fourth round to late round, that didn’t happen and I ended up signing a free-agent deal with the Indianapolis Colts, [with whom] I had a great preseason, everything was going good but they cut me. They put me on the practice squad and that was pretty much my downward spiral because my dreams are right there. I thought everything was going to happen for me and it didn’t, so I probably got cut eight or nine times during my three-year NFL career with three different teams.”
Shelton was also an offseason or practice squad member with the Seattle Seahawks and the now-defunct Tulsa Talons of the AFL, the latter of which he played his final season with in 2011.
Shelton’s new book, which was released May 7, is all about how to find the courage to bounce back after setbacks and accomplish your goals and more generally, live a happy life. The Christian author uses many of his personal experiences as examples.
Shelton is married with two children and lives in the Fort Worth, Texas, area. He is the founder of Christian-based non-profit RehabTime.
Despite going through a rough patch with his wife Maria, Shelton now revealed that meeting her and having children with her proved to be the “greatest rescue” of his life.
“My son Tristan was the reason why I wanted to be a better man because I knew he would follow in my footsteps,” he said.
Shelton’s career in motivational speaking began in 2009, before he even officially retired from professional football. In a moment of unadulterated honesty, Shelton confessed he had a moment of clarity at his mother’s home after breaking down crying and praying that he would find another calling in life.
“For me, RehabTime wasn’t to start an organization or to be a speaker: literally, that was my biggest fear,” said Shelton. “It was me, rehabbing my life, mind, body and soul.”
Shelton added that reading books, going to the gym and “diving deeper” into his faith helped him get to where he is today.
In the end, Shelton stressed that forgiveness is key to happiness and living a more fulfilling life and that it is a sign of strength and not weakness.
“The question I would ask somebody watching is like, ‘Do you want to live with this pain [for] the rest of your life?’ because without forgiveness you can move on from the person or situation, but you will never move on from the pain,” Shelton offered as a final piece of advice.
Full interview transcript below:
Q: How did your setbacks lead to your new career?
A: So, I’ve been a sports athlete my whole entire life, since I was five years old. I had two older brothers, so I didn’t really have a choice. Since I could walk, I wanted to play football, and it’s kind of fast for a little bit. I moved to Texas, and Texas of course is a football state, and I got a scholarship at Baylor University, stood out there. I thought I would get drafted, supposed to go fourth round to Lake around and didn’t happen. I ended up signing a deal free agent deal with Indianapolis Colts, which I had a great pre-season, everything was going good, but they cut me, they put me on practice squad. And that was pretty much my downward spiral because my dreams are right there, I thought everything was going to happen for me, and it didn’t. I probably got cut eight or nine times through my three- year career in the NFL with three different teams.
Q: What happened in your relationships with your now-wife?
A: I was in an on-and-off again relationship at the time when I was playing with Indianapolis Cots and actually spent some time here in New York City, this was a place that was a good place for me but at the same time brings a lot of memories that was kind of my downward spiral. I wasn’t being a faithful person, and I ended up getting my now wife actually pregnant at the time. It was tough because when something happens that’s not planned, I was looking at the pregnancy as a disappointment, so I finally had to face my reality. My career’s not going right and this is a big thing, our parents are best friends, so it was a big mess. To fast forward though, it was the greatest rescue of my life. My son Tristan was the reason why I wanted to be a better man because I knew he would follow my footsteps.
Q: How did you start making motivation videos?
A: It was 2009, I just got release from the Seahawks in 2008. So, the beginning of 2009, I was at
home and offseason, and I wish I had a cool moment story to tell you, but I remember being in my mom’s house, in my room, and looking around like, dang, my life, what am I doing with myself? I’ve seem all these trophies and pictures and my son in the room, I just broke down and cried. I’m a man of faith and I just pray and say amen, I want my life to be used for something better. I just told myself it was rehab time. So, for me, rehab time wasn’t to start an organization, it wasn’t to be a speak, literally that was my biggest fear. It was me rehabbing my life, mind, body, and soul. So reading books, which it’s funny I’m writing books but I hated to read at that time, it was me going to the gym, it was me diving deeper in my spirituality. And in that process of me sharing the journey with people, people start to ask me questions, so I would make these two minute videos with my iPhone and upload them and that’s started what people know today as rehab time.
Q: How do you see the importance of forgiveness?
A: It’s important because forgiveness is hard, especially when someone’s hurt you. For me, it
was football, people think that’s funny but it was football. What’s hard for me to forgive, I can’t even watch football, but I realize, when you don’t forgive, you carry an emotional weight around you for the rest of your life. I always tell people someone did you wrong, the worst thing you could do is give them to power to control your future when they controlled your past. So forgiveness is not for other people, forgiveness is not a weakness, it’s a strength. Forgiveness literally is for you. It frees you from that situation, so the question I would ask somebody watching is, do you want to live with the pain the rest of your life because without forgiveness, you can move on from the personal situation, but you will never move on from the pain.