When Casey Printers left Texas Christian University in 2001, he seemed to be venturing away from an ideal situation.
Printers received a scholarship to play quarterback for TCU in 1999 after being named a second-team blue chip All-American upon graduating from high school. That same year, he led the Horned Frogs to a Mobile Alabama Bowl victory and was named Most Valuable Player of that game.
His NFL career looked promising as he guided his team, which also featured current Pro Bowl running back LaDainian Tomlinson, to three straight bowl appearances.
Prior to his senior season, Printers decided to transfer to Florida A&M.
“I was under the impression that if you were good, the NFL would find you anywhere,” Printers said.
With so much of the offensive focus on Tomlinson, a Heisman Trophy candidate, there was a need to prove that he had the passing ability to be successful at the next level, he said.
“After I left TCU, I needed to show the NFL that I was a passing quarterback. At the time, [FAMU] had the supreme passing program and I would’ve been able to fit right in.”
After a successful, but not spectacular season at Florida A&M, Printers went from being a third-team Freshman All-American to being an undrafted player looking to find a home on an NFL team.
He found success in the Canadian Football League and was named CFL’s Most Outstanding Player in 2004.
In 2006, Printers finally got the opportunity that he coveted, signing a three-year deal with the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs. That opportunity, however, proved to be short-lived when the Chiefs released him the following year.
“When I played for the Kansas City Chiefs, there was guy who, after they released me, told me my pedigree wasn’t good enough; and by pedigree, I mean where you come from,” he said. “I was under the impression all the way up until that moment that your pedigree didn’t matter.”
“Everything that I thought was the truth about college and professional sports were false.”
Propelled by the numerous disappointments Printers had previously experienced that culminated in that one conversation, he began conducting research on the trends of the drafts in professional sports.
The 2008 NFL draft, for example, he found that of the 255 players selected, 200 came from D-1A BCS (Bowl Championship Series) schools, which are the six major conferences in college football.
The same tendencies occurred in his studies of both the NBA draft and the MLB draft, Printers said.
Inspired by his findings and with the help of his life coach, Raymond Perras, he wrote a book that was published and released in January called, From High School to the Pros.
The book is geared towards the young, black athlete; and Perras, who has been coaching athletes on how to achieve “peak performance” for 17 years, said that the principles and concepts he has taught Printers are evident not only in his recent success on the field but also in his writing.
“There are a number of things in there that are a direct outcome of the work we’ve done,” Perras said.
In addition to it’s motivational nature, Printers’ book also focuses on raising awareness.
“There’s a game to the corporate side of the world and if we understood that, some of the decisions we make may be a little different,” he said.
“You’re not going [to college] just to say ‘Oh, I went to [FAMU].’ You’re going to say, ‘the business school is one of the best schools in the country, so when it’s time for me to get a job, I can get a job.’ For the industry I was choosing, which was professional football, choosing the lower level school wasn’t the best business decision.”
Although the decision to transfer to Florida A&M may not have been beneficial at the time, Printers said he would not have changed anything.
“I do not regret my decision of going to Florida A&M, not in the slightest bit. Had I not gone to Florida A&M, I wouldn’t have been able to write this book and I would not take back the black college experience for nothing. It was absolutely a great journey.”
That journey is not over yet as Printers prepares to come out with a program within the next few months that will allow people to not only access his book but also talk to him and get inside knowledge about what’s going on in the sports world.
Black athletes are often times so focused on being a superstar professional that they fail to realize that “there’s a road that has to be painted to get there.”
“It’s frustrating because we’ve got so many talented young athletes in the world today that don’t have a clue about how they can get to the pros, they just know they want to get there and so with this book, that’s what I was able to do – create a path for them to follow.”
Perras said that Printers’ success on and off the field correlate to each other. The one word he stressed was “awareness.” He said that Printers raised awareness in others once he became aware of himself.
“He was pointing the finger at everyone but himself. Now he points the finger at himself because he knows it’s about him, not the others,” said Perras of the adversity his student faced.
Printers will be the starting quarterback for the BC Lions this upcoming season and remains hopeful that he will once again have an opportunity to prove himself in the NFL.
From High School to the Pros, which has done well since being released, can be purchased online at caseyprintersinc.com.