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Former Arizona Cardinal Antoine Bethea still using platform for good – The Arizona Republic

Antoine Bethea was an NFL safety who started 213 of the 222 NFL games in which he played over 14 seasons. A former sixth-round draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts, Bethea spent two years with the Arizona Cardinals in 2017 and 2018, and has since retired and is living in Charlotte.

Bethea played in two Super Bowls, winning one with the Colts, and made three Pro Bowls. Now he’s running a trucking business and operating a sports bar in the city where he grew up, Newport News, Va., and spending as much time as he can with his family.

Bethea, 38, also does a podcast live on YouTube Tuesdays and Thursdays with ex-Colts teammate Darius Butler, in which they talk football and current events. And his Bethea Family Foundation is impacting lives in Newport News.

“I’ve still got my hands full,” he said.

Bethea’s favorite NFL safeties to watch include the Cardinals’ Budda Baker, Derwin James Jr. of the Los Angeles Chargers, Minkah Fitzpatrick of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Micah Hyde of the Buffalo Bills.

This NFL season, which ends with Super Bowl 57 in Glendale, The Republic visits with some of the names and faces from the Cardinals’ 35 seasons in Arizona. This week it’s Bethea, who had 29 career interceptions including four in the postseason.

More Cardinals 35th:  Larry Centers | Jay Feely | Rich Camarillo | Luis SharpeLeonard Davis | Chris Johnson | Bertrand Berry | Eric Hill | Neil Rackers | Mike Iupati | Karlos Dansby | Carson Palmer Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie | Michael Pittman 

More:Cardinals’ 35th season in Arizona: How an SNL skit made Jay Feely a more confident kicker

Q: Sounds like you kind of had an idea of what you wanted to do after your NFL career ended, before you retired. Were you setting yourself up for life after football?

A: “For sure you know, Father Time is undefeated so at some point, man, it’s going to come through in the end and you just don’t want to be twiddling your fingers when it happens. Regardless of how many years you play, how much money made, you still want to be active. Well, at least I did. So never wanted to work for anybody. That entrepreneurial mindset was always there. That’s what I was able to set up for myself.”

Q: A lot of sixth-round picks don’t have that longevity and aren’t that accomplished in their football careers. For you what was the key to that?

A: “Staying consistent, you know, when I’m talking to younger guys, I mean, you’ve got to take care of your body. You got to be your worst critic, your harshest critic. But I think consistency was the biggest thing and in any aspect of life, you know, when you know somebody’s going to be consistent, that’s where you see success.”

Q: You are an alum of an HBCU (Howard University). What does that mean to you?

A: “You’ve got to celebrate your wins. If nobody’s going to celebrate then you’ve got to celebrate them. So coming from an HBCU, just my path, playing for some great organizations, being able to play in two Super Bowls, win one, three Pro Bowls, I’m patting myself on the back. You might say you’re tooting your own horn, but that’s a feat that I can say that I’m proud of. And also be able to to create a legacy for my family. Meet new people, relationships. So with all of that, man, I’m happy.”

More:Cardinals’ 35th season in Arizona: Larry Centers hoping to get Ring of Honor call

Q: Any thoughts on what Deion Sanders did for those schools and moving to Colorado?

A: “Deion, he brought a lot of life to the HBCUs. Got a lot of eyes on them with his personality. He did a lot on that front for Jackson State, you know, helping build some new facilities … they had a good following and a fan base already but he was able to amplify that. It was a win for Jackson State, what they were able to get as far as things they needed, and Coach Prime, he was able to amplify his name and go on to a bigger school (Colorado) and try to do the same thing.”

Q: While in Arizona you met with the governor and were involved in social justice causes and community work. What makes that important to you?

A: “At the end of the day, football, like I say, if I played in the NFL 14 years, I’m going be a Black man forever until I hit the dirt. So just social justice issues, man, that’s something that was dear to my heart, not only for me, but you know, I’ve got two young boys, I’ve got friends and brothers, dads and things of that nature. So just trying move that needle … I wanted to get out there and talk to people and try to impact the people. We have a platform, we’ve got to use that platform. That was kind of just my mindset on everything as far as the community and how we can help improve it, you know, so that was my biggest thing.”

Q: What was it like playing in Super Bowls and the two different outcomes you had in them?

A: “That’s everybody’s goal, to get down to hoist that Lombardi Trophy up. So being able to play in two, you have a lot of greats that played this game a long, long time and weren’t able to experience that. So to be able to experience it twice is a dope feeling.”

More:Cardinals’ 35th season in Arizona: Luis Sharpe helps others overcome harmful addictions

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