When a player has lived the ups and down of professional football like Tarboro native Shaun Draughn has, they tend not to worry about much.
If anything, Draughn, 26, sounded relieved to be back in his hotel room in the Chicago area Wednesday afternoon after the second day of mandatory mini camp with the Chicago Bears.
Draughn, a four-year veteran who has played with the Washington Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens, is thankful for another opportunity to prove that he can stick with an NFL team.
“As long as I get a fair shake, which I think I am here in Chicago, the sky is the limit for what I can do for the team,” said Draughn, a former North Carolina standout who entered the league undrafted. “Every year I have been in the league, I have played that battle as an undrafted free agent going into camp. It’s a matter of me controlling what I can and letting the chips fall where they may.”
Draughn signed a one-year deal with Chicago in April after a trying season in which he was a member of three teams.
The 2006 Tarboro High graduate and former Telegram All-Area Offensive Player of the Year, was cut by the Chiefs before the start of the regular season. He signed with the Ravens a few weeks later and lasted nearly a month on the squad of the then-defending Super Bowl champions before being cut.
His season ended after a four-day stint with the Colts in December.
While waiting on the next playing opportunity, Draughn enhanced his future.
He and his fiancee, Shonda Peoples, became engaged, and the two plan to marry next April.
Draughn and Peoples have a two-year-old daughter, London Grace, and the couple’s second child, a boy, is on the way.
Confident but unsure of his next opportunity, Draughn settled in the Triangle region and opened a real estate investment company, Highly Favored Solutions, LLC.
Draughn often attended weekly meetings with those in the industry, making connections and educating himself on the process.
“I have always been interested in real estate,” Draughn said. “I love the hands-on approach of designing and seeing the finished product. Although football makes good money, it’s about creating residual income and being able to support your family and sending the kids off to college. I felt like the time I had off was a good time to get into it and learn all I could about it.”
With his business in its early stages, Draughn is able to keep an eye on his future while dealing with the present.
Draughn, who has 235 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns in three seasons, is part of a group of four running backs likely competing for two backup spots at the position.
Draughn said his experience with the terminology of Chicago’s west coast offense gives him and the Bears’ coaches a level of comfort with one another.
Draughn has played football since he was in the fourth grade and said he would like to continue.
Whenever the day comes that he can’t or does not have the opportunity, the next phase has its foundation.
“God sat me down to look at things different,” Draughn said. “Football is what I love to do, but one day, it will be over. You have to make plans for something else. There are ways other than sports or rapping to make money.”
Jessie H. Nunery can be reached at 407-9959 or firstname.lastname@example.org