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Ex-Panthers tackle next play on the field of business (access required)

By Sam Boykin CHARLOTTE — After an eight-year career in the NFL, including two seasons with the Carolina Panthers, Leonard Wheeler retired in 2001 at the ripe old age of 30. Now what? After nearly a decade of earning his keep on the gridiron, was he ready to make the transition into the business world? “Transitioning from pro sports is a hard process,” he said. “In the NFL, you’re not dealing with reality. Everything is given to you, and suddenly it comes to an abrupt stop. It can be brutal.” But Leonard said he was always thinking past football. Prior to being drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals, he attended Troy University in Alabama and earned his bachelor’s in business administration.  “Getting drafted was great, but I always said I was not going to allow a game to define me to the point where there’s nothing else I can do,” he said. “I’ve always been an entrepreneur.”

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