MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Michael Pierce is 28 years old, entering what ought to be the prime of his career in the NFL as a run-stopping nose tackle.
In 2020, after he signed with the Minnesota Vikings but opted out of the season because of health concerns surrounding COVID-19, Pierce had an early vision of his retirement.
Parts of the picture were pretty, given ample, stress-free time for self-examination and goal-setting. He tried to pick up piano playing. He bought a dog. He focused on philanthropy, with the initiation of a family foundation. He dabbled in real estate dealings, aiming to ensure his parents don't have to worry about money. Well ahead of schedule, Pierce gained some valuable direction for his post-football life during quarantine in his native Alabama.