NEW YORK -- Brandon Jacobs isn't waiting until his NFL playing days are over before deciding what he wants to do next.
The New York Giants star is breaking into professional boxing -- but not as a promoter or fighter, although the 6-foot-4, 260-pounder might make a bruising heavyweight. Instead, Jacobs wants to be a manager, the behind-the-scenes guy who signs and molds young fighters, just maybe taking one or two of them to the top.
"I do have my day job, but this is something I look at and take very seriously, because it's another guy's livelihood in the palm of my hand," Jacobs told The Associated Press on Wednesday at a news conference ahead of Miguel Cotto's welterweight title fight against Joshua Clottey.
"I've been wanting to get into this business after I was done playing."
The average career of an NFL player is 3½ seasons, according to the NFL Players Association. Even stars like Jacobs, who ran for 1,089 yards and 15 touchdowns for the Giants last season, are usually finished by their early 30s.
Some open restaurants and sports bars, some begin working in financial services, others end up in the broadcast booth. But the 26-year-old Jacobs has always had an interest in the "sweet science," and put together an impressive amateur career growing up in Louisiana. He lost only twice in more than 30 fights.
When Jacobs began considering colleges, he could only find a few that even had boxing clubs. He wound up at Southern Illinois, hung up the gloves and dedicated himself to football, and a few years later helped lead the Giants to the Super Bowl.
"I've been into boxing a long time, boxing is something that has driven me very much," said Jacobs, who still tries to spar in the gym once in a while.
"I've been wanting to get into the business after I was done playing. If I didn't fight, I wanted to get into the promotion business, but I hear from people that's a lot of headache, so I wanted to do something that was more personable with the fighters."
Jacobs has known former junior welterweight champion Kendall Holt for years, and when Holt had a falling out with his management team, he asked Jacobs to fill in. Next thing he knew, Jacobs was signing papers that made him a pro manager.
While admittedly a novice when it comes to the intricacies of contracts, securing venues, marketing and promotions, Jacobs has found plenty of support from the boxing community.
Top Rank, one of the biggest promotional companies in the sport, has lent some guidance, and Jacobs is teaming with longtime manager Pat Lynch, who helped guide the career of former champ and popular brawler Arturo Gatti.
"We're looking to sign some young fighters. We've got one on the radar screen we'll try to have under contract next week," Lynch said of their newfound partnership. "Brandon is a very knowledgeable guy in the boxing business. He knows a lot."
Jacobs plans to be ringside for the Cotto-Clottey fight Saturday night, and he's bringing more than a dozen of his Giants teammates with him.
His constant discussion of the sport has turned many of them into boxing fans as well.
"It's early for me, so I'm just trying to get my feet wet," Jacobs said. "And we're just trying to get things set in stone and just trying to get my next career going right now."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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