Article Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

Bad Choices Today Make Better Ones Tomorrow

Jan. 1, 1970

Dear Fellow Former Players & Friends,

Mistakes come with a feeling of guilt and embarrassment; a sense that you didn’t live up to expectations.

I do a great job not talking about my past mistakes, mainly because I don’t think it makes for good conversation and, more importantly, I’m concerned with focusing on the person I want to be. I want to grow and get better. The less I talk about where I’ve been the faster I get where I’m going.

I analyze everything, so I had to learn not to dwell on my past mistakes. Putting things behind me takes effort. I’ve learned to follow a process that allows me to understand my emotions and take actions to move on.

First, check your emotions and evaluate your feelings. Identify where those emotions are coming from. Why do you feel quilt or regret? Were your actions out of character? Were you trying to please someone? Did you let a group of people down? Are your feelings motivated by fear? Unchecked emotions can wear you down. Identifying where the worry is coming from and who you disappointed is the first step to moving on.

Next assess how this will impact you personally. Will you lose your job, money or even your freedom? Most things don’t rise to that level, but if it does just know you can overcome anything.

Acknowledge your actions. You’re not expected to make mistakes when given a responsibility. Yet, we do make mistakes. It happens.  But, making excuses makes the situation worse. Admit to yourself where things went wrong.  Did you gather enough information? Did you rely on someone’s help?  Did you exercise patience? If the mistake falls squarely on you, just own it. Say “I did it”. And if you need to say you’re sorry, sincerely apologize.

If you don’t need to apologize to anyone else, apologize to yourself. Maybe apologize to your present-day self for the mistakes made by a younger less wise self. Then move on.

Look for a “do-over”. Work to make it up to yourself. Try to minimize the damage or fix the mistake. Earn respect. Regain self- worth, self- dignity and integrity. Get back out there to earn the coach’s trust. Life is no different, you want to be trustworthy and recognized as someone with integrity.

Who you are now is not who you were then, and bad choices today can be better choices tomorrow. Don’t put setbacks in your suitcase of life, but do catalog and learn from the experience. The apology is key. That is the closure. There may be forthcoming consequences, but for your heart saying I’m sorry is powerful and sufficient.

Make amends without expecting a pat on the back. Just do what is required and do it with genuineness. Taking action creates an opportunity for healing, the beginning of a comeback and befitting the next generation of you.

Andre Collins


Executive Director
Professional Athletes Foundation
NFL Player 1990-1999

Gene Upshaw Player Assistance Trust Fund

Apply Today

All Resources

Tell Me More

What I Discovered amid the Pandemic

I’m human. I didn’t accomplish all my pandemic goals. But I accomplished being present with myself.

Click here to read Andre's full interview Fall letter.

Read More

Meet the Staff: Laura Stefanow

"I just try to do my best in being that person that former players can talk to openly and without judgment.”

Click here to learn more about Laura's work, interests and impact with the PAF.

Read More

Meet the Staff: Leslie Isler

"I love amplifying and promoting what our players are doing in their second act. That’s definitely one of my favorite aspects of my job.

Click here to learn more about Leslie's work, interests and impact with the PAF.

Read More

Mental Health Awareness Week with Andre

Exercise has sustained me. Walking. Jogging. Yoga. Weights. Also heavy doses of Netflix to escape reality.

Click here to read Andre's full interview with PNS.

Read More

The Next Generation of You: Wendell Davis

One former player is both the President of Chicago’s NFLPA Former Players Chapter and working to create jobs for perspective pro football players.

Read More

The One Skill All Modern Couples Need to Master

Mastering this communication skill is critical to success

Read More

Why Servant Leadership is Becoming the Leadership Style of the Future

Servant leadership is viewed as a more authentic approach to genuinely address the needs of the followers.

Read More

Rethinking What it Means to Recover from Addiction


Read More