Game Planning for Life:

Former NFL Player Jedidiah Collins Shares Financial Management Tips

Story and photos by Jason Krump

Jedidiah Collins

Jedidiah Collins (’08 Accounting) gets a nostalgic feeling when he returns to Washington State University

“I remember walking these halls,” he said. “I remember sitting in the team rooms.”

During a February afternoon, Collins sits in one of the team rooms where he sat a decade earlier as a member of the Cougar Football team.

On this afternoon, instead of discussing a game plan for the upcoming Saturday’s game, Collins is discussing his program, “Game Planning Your Personal Finances.”

It is a program that Collins will present that evening to current student-athletes inside the auditorium of the Cougar Football Complex, steps away from where he competed on the Martin Stadium field. And it is a topic that Collins, a financial advisor with the Seattle-based firm Brighton Jones, learned the importance of during his NFL career.

Asking questions and finding answers

“I was able to survive and carve out a career in the NFL,” said Collins, who was in the league for seven years, including three seasons with the New Orleans Saints and one with the Detroit Lions.

With the NFL came the benefit of money, but Collins found that he was in unsure territory.

“I thought I was prepared, but I quickly realized I was very unprepared,” he said. “I had questions of how to deal with it. When you start asking these questions, you start searching for answers.”

To find those answers Collins went back to his time as a student-athlete. The term student-athlete is one that Collins, who said he never expected to have a “true reality of playing in the NFL” while at WSU, takes to heart.

He graduated with a degree in accounting from the Carson College of Business and, during his WSU playing career from 2004 to 2007, was named to the Pac-10 All-Academic Team three times.

“I hear the term student-athlete, and I truly emphasized the student,” Collins said. “That’s why I studied accounting. I looked at it as I’m going to need to rely on something else and what is going to give me the best foundation and open as many doors as possible.”

And if there was one message Collins hoped the current student-athletes took away from his presentation, it is something he learned in the classroom.

“One of the greatest lessons I took away from the Carson College of Business was the computation of the time value of money: what compound interest is able to do for you over a lifetime,” Collins explained. “The greatest lesson I learned in the school of business is that at 20 you can exponentially change your life rather than wait and do it at 50.”

Giving back

With his visit, Collins combined his passion for personal finance with his passion for Washington State University.

“I love the school and want to give back to the University,” said Collins, who earned a scholarship playing football for the Cougars.

“It’s a debt of gratitude owed to the University to be awarded a scholarship,” explained Collins, who continues to give back to WSU not only with his visits, but as a member of the Cougar Athletic Fund. “I want to give back my time and efforts to the school because it gave me so much.”

“To call myself a Cougar means I truly took advantage of the opportunity I was awarded coming here,” Collins said. “I respect the University and the gift they gave me, and I’m trying to accomplish as much as I can with that.”