TAMPA, Fla. (WFTS) — Marcus Applefield used to protect his quarterback as an offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens. Now, he’s protecting the citizens of Hillsborough County, Florida, as a deputy.
After a career-ending injury prevented him from playing football ever again, he found his new passion in law enforcement.
“Just civilians in the community, sometimes they will come up to me, ‘there is absolutely no way you didn’t play football,’” Applefield said.
Applefield is 6-foot 5-inches tall and weighs 300 pounds.
He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Rutgers University, then transferred to the University of Virginia to get his master’s degree in psychology.
He later signed an undrafted free-agent contract with the Ravens.
But his dream job lasted about two years before suffering a back injury.
“Getting injured, I got put on (injured reserve). I had to make that decision after not getting cleared by a doctor a certain amount of times if football was to be continued for me,” Applefield said.
He initially wanted to be a lawyer but didn’t want a desk job.
“I knew the next best thing for me was to be on the road, in the streets, and helping the community in that way,” he said.
Last year, he made the transition from player to patrol deputy.
“I love it here with the sheriff’s office," Applefield said. "The great family value here. I got accepted. At the time when I came in, there was a battle between athletes, especially NFL, and cops. NFL players were taking knees. I was taking a knee, personally. I got accepted pretty quickly."
Whether he’s helping his co-workers with their fantasy football teams or working with youth, Applefield said he wants to support his community.
“Just because the name was on my jersey, now it’s just right on the front next to a badge; it’s kind of the same thing,” he said.
This story was originally reported on abcactionnews.com.