Football has helped teach Napoleon McCallum many life lessons, including how to battle back from adversity. After suffering one of the most gruesome injuries in sports history (dislocated knee, ruptured artery, three snapped ligaments), ending his NFL career one game into his sixth season in 1994, the College Football Hall of Famer was forced to re-evaluate his future. As director of community development for Sands Corp., McCallum now is doing what he can to help Las Vegas bounce back from hard times.
McCallum, who lives in Henderson with his wife, Yvonne, and their four daughters, fell in love with Southern Nevada and moved here shortly after his injury to launch Digital Pro Graphics, a printing company whose clients included many casinos and the Regional Transportation Commission.
When he sold his company after 10 years, McCallum learned about the Sands position through connections with the Urban Chamber of Commerce, and was hired despite not having any formal community development experience. His football background has again served him in this position, this time from his college years at the Naval Academy. While McCallum excelled on the football field—twice earning All-America honors and becoming (and remaining) the Midshipmen’s all-time leading rusher—the disciplined environment instilled a sense of dedication and leadership in him, qualities he takes into the community every day.
In his five years with Sands, McCallum, 47, has helped raise money for local charities and organize company volunteer endeavors. He also works with minority organizations ranging from the Nevada Commission on Minority Affairs to the Urban, Asian and Latin Chambers of Commerce.
Soon after his football career ended, McCallum was offered a position in player personnel with the Green Bay Packers, but he didn’t want to take his focus off his printing company. (Had he gone to work for the Packers, he likely would have wound up with a 1997 Super Bowl ring.) While he remains interested in getting back into sports in some capacity, either in a front-office position or as a coach, McCallum doesn’t want to go too far to do so.
“Even if there was a job opportunity in the NFL, I don’t ever see a situation where I leave Las Vegas,” he says. “I really love this town. There’s a lot of people doing a lot of great things here.”
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