This adventure appears in the Sept. 24–Oct. 1, 2018, affair of Sports Illustrated. For added abundant storytelling and all-embracing analysis, subscribe to the magazine—and get up to 94% off the awning price. Click actuality for more.
Standing in the average of a gutted aboriginal floor, the aroma of beginning acrylic seeping bottomward from upstairs, the barrage of a ability sander a few anxiety away, Brandon Copeland flips accessible his laptop. “These are my affairs for the kitchen,” says the 6’3″, 263-pound Jets alfresco linebacker. He curtains on the awning to acknowledge a certificate with handwritten addendum at the top: EAGLES OFFENSE. “Oops—that’s my playbook,” he says. “These are the plans.” The aing tab has precise, hand-drawn diagrams of fixtures, abstracts and cabinets that Copeland sketched while in the training allowance this summer in Florham Park, N.J.
It’s beneath than 12 hours afterwards the Jets’ 10–9 accident to the Eagles in an August preseason d and Copeland is analytical asphalt assignment in the ablution and mapping out electrical base in the basement of a advance activity in Ellicott City, Md. The 27-year-old had bought the abode for $384,000 in June 2017, about a year afterwards he purchased his aboriginal advance property, in Detroit, at a time back his NFL approaching was in doubt.
Undrafted out of Penn in 2013, the Wharton School of Business alum spent time on the Ravens’ and the Titans’ convenance squads afore sitting out the season. Finding no luck in the NFL, he was set to comedy for the Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League in ’15, back he got a last-minute allure to an NFL veterans’ amalgamate in Arizona breadth his 4.52-second 40 bent the absorption of the Lions. He played for Detroit for two seasons afore missing the ’17 division because of a broken pectoral muscle. Copeland was best up by the Jets in mid-March and is now suiting up for Gang Green while flipping houses on the side—the aboriginal time he has formed on blueprints and d affairs simultaneously. “I never appetite to be abased on one thing,” he says.
Copeland calls himself an “entrepreneurship major” added generally than a “football player”—he alike took a job as an analyst on Wall Street aftermost spring—and his time on the IR in Detroit accustomed him to dive added into his business interests. One of his teammates appropriate he try absolute estate. His aboriginal aftertaste of house-flipping came through a affiliation with his mentor, retired Lions bouncer Rob Sims, and again in June 2017, Copeland purchased his aboriginal house. The three-bedroom, 2½ ablution in Detroit amount him $102,000, and aural a few months, he active affairs for two added properties. The renovation—and Copeland’s education—had begun. Prices for painters? Colors that accessible up the space? The amount of drywall? “I’m the blazon of guy who aloof dives in,” he says.
“I’m Joanna,” he says, apropos to Joanna Gaines, costar of the accepted HGTV show, Fixer Upper. “I spent a lot of time talking to people, designing stuff, addition out what to do back things abatement through. It’s fun to see that and anatomy that. And to additionally apperceive that there’s activity alfresco of the NFL.”
In one year of flipping bristles houses in Detroit and the Baltimore area, Copeland says he has angry a six-figure profit. While he’s the architecture advance and he foots best of the bills, abounding others accord to the business: His mother, Angela, and some above teammates advance in the projects in barter for a allotment of the profits; his wife, Taylor, a accounts and action accessory at Google, anxiously archive spending and calculates ROIs; and his brother, Chad, who’s arch the allegation on the Ellicott City house, is a beginning activity manager.
Sims—who started a business alleged Locker Allowance Consulting with above NFL players Calvin Johnson and Jason Strayhorn to advice athletes alteration to activity afterwards able sports—considers Copeland a success story. “It’s adamantine for the bodies who pay you millions to not apprehend you to accord everything, all of you, to football,” says Sims, 34. “But at the aforementioned time, if you’re activity to accord your anatomy up, you gotta get article out of the accord in the end, for your account and your sanity. It’s important to assignment on that aing 30 years of income.”
During the season, Copeland will adviser the Ellicott City abode remotely, while managing his advance account of about $115,000. He hopes to advertise the abode for $650,000, axis a accumulation of about $150,000, breach four means with his investors. “A lot of bodies will acquaint you Plan B distracts from Plan A,” says Copeland. “But it’s all about compartmentalizing. You charge to aerate this belvedere while you accept it.”
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