NFLer Kenny Vaccaro walks away from the gridiron to form esports organization G1

Truly lucky are the professional athletes who can walk about from the game without having to give up the thrill of competition. The National Football League’s Kenny Vaccaro is one of those players. Pigskin fans will know him from his safety stints with the New Orleans Saints and Tennessee Titans. Esports fans will be getting to know him in the coming months and years as one of the driving forces of fledgling esports organization G1.

The Brownwood, Texas-born 30-year-old announced this week that he’s hanging them up after an eight-year run as a pro. And, rather than sitting around the houses eating bon-bons and watching The View, he’ll be launching a new venture.

In a release announcing G1—short for Gamers First—Vaccaro said:

“This isn’t a reflex decision for me; it’s something I’ve thought about for a long time. I’ve been a gamer for even longer than I’ve played football, and I’ve always thought of myself as a gamer first. So this is the realization of a long-term dream for me. And while football has been how many have defined me, G1 is evidence for other athletes as well that life doesn’t end just because you put down the helmet. You can reinvent yourself.”

Joining Vaccaro on the G1 journey will be gamers/entrepreneurs Hunter Swensson and Cody Hendrix. Their mantra? That would be: Content, Culture and Competition.

The first goal of fledgling esports organization G1 will be taking home a Halo World Championship. Among Gamers First, um, first signing are a gaggle of streamers and pro plays who specialize in Destiny.

If Vaccaro’s football skills set the blueprint for G1, the esports squad should prove an enduring success. After starring at the University of Texas, the self-proclaimed “Gamer First” was claimed by the Saints in round one of the 2013 NFL draft.

In his football retirement announcement he notes that he has opportunities to continue playing in the NFL, but instead couldn’t resist the pull of gaming and esports, as well as beginning a new chapter in his life.

Mike Usinger once took the better part of two years to finish Grand Theft Auto. Over the course of his career he has written about everything from eSports to music to movies to travel.

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