Bryce Fisher's journey takes him far beyond football
His NFL career apparently over, former Seahawk Bryce Fisher is heading for graduate school, working in real-estate investment and giving back.
Seattle Times staff columnist
BELLEVUE — Bryce Fisher looks as comfortable sitting behind an office desk as he once did hunting quarterbacks on a football field. Maybe even better. Here, he's not the underdog player who sweated out an NFL career. He's a natural businessman — a 6-foot-3, 260-pound natural — and if you think working as a partner in a real-estate investment firm seems tiring enough, consider that it's only the tip of Fisher's post-pigskin aspirations.
He's a captain and the public-affairs officer for the Washington Air National Guard. He's preparing to go to the University of Chicago to get a master's degree in business. He's promoting two charity golf tournaments.
"And I have a wife and three girls," Fisher says. "I've never been able to sit still. I don't know how to sit still."
Fisher serves as a model for how athletes should attack the professional sports afterlife. But that's not his mission. He's simply feeding a work ethic that his parents instilled in him, a trait honed by the discipline of his college experience at the Air Force Academy.
The result: a seven-year NFL career (including two years with the Seahawks in 2005 and 2006), millions of dollars and now the opportunity to explore the rest of his interests.
After not playing in 2008, he's likely done with football. He'd probably accept another chance to play. He's still young. He turns 32 later this month, but he's realistic.
Asked if he has more football left in him, Fisher laughs and says, "I probably do, but I don't think anybody wants me anymore. You don't move on from the NFL. The NFL moves on from you. Unless you're John Elway, that's pretty much how it works."
He says the words in a matter-of-fact manner. No bitterness. Time to focus on the next task. Time to be everything he wants to be.
"I was  when I played my last game, and I don't want to say that I peaked at ," said Fisher, who is from Renton and went to high school at Seattle Prep. "I always think the best is in front of me. When I thought about grad school, I applied to two places: the University of Chicago and Harvard. My parents used to always tell me, 'You can be anything you want.' I believed them. I tell my girls the same.
"I started playing football at 14, so I've been around the game for 17 years. If at the end of the day, if I live to 80 and all I did was play football a few years, then I wasted the other 60 years of my life."
It's the kind of attitude you'd expect from a member of his family. Fisher's father, Richard, is a former Army police officer who later spent several years as a bodyguard for Washington governors. His mother, Diana Ferrant, worked as a union carpenter, helped build bridges and survived breast cancer. One of his older brothers, Anthony, is a civil engineer. The other, Roy, has a master's degree.
Given the high achievers in his family, it's no surprise that Bryce is as eloquent as they come. Spend an hour with him, and the interview moves far beyond its original purpose and into a multitude of topics, including parenting, technology and war. He offers strong, well-reasoned opinions, especially when it comes to the value of the military.
"We're in two wars right now, and look at the news," Fisher says. "We're talking about swine flu and 'American Idol.' The reason we can talk about those other things is because people are overseas doing things that nobody else in America would want to do. I played football, a game that's irrelevant outside of three hours on Sunday. And yet the media just covered the NFL draft for an entire month. The only reason that can happen is because there are men and women protecting us overseas. I truly believe that."
That's why Fisher is serving as the honorary chairman of the USO Red, White and Blue Golf Tournament. It's a key fundraising event for the nonprofit organization, which aims to boost the morale of service members and keep them connected with their native country. The tournament is scheduled for May 19 at The Golf Club at Newcastle.
About a month later, on June 15, Fisher will host a celebrity golf tournament, at the same location, to benefit Gilda's Club.
In the meantime, he'll keep busy juggling all his responsibilities. He's a sincere believer in the real-estate investment firm he works for, AGM, Inc. He's determined to be a partner that makes a difference. Considering that he managed to wring a good NFL run out of being the 248th pick in the 1999 draft, there's no reason to doubt Fisher now.
"My mom, she always told us, 'Anything you do, do it to the absolute best of your ability. If your name is going to be on it, sign it yourself,' " Fisher said. "The last thing I want is for somebody to say that Bryce didn't really try."
No worries there. The NFL may have moved on from Fisher, but clearly he hasn't moved on from life.
Jerry Brewer: 206-464-2277 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
About Jerry Brewer
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