In our fourteenth installment in this series, we were able to catch up with former Alabama cornerback Chris Rogers. To get the complete interview, click here:
There are many disparaging and demeaning names troubled kids are called while growing up. Bad, terrible, juvenile — thug. The last title you would expect them to have is CEO, college graduate, role model — success. At some point in his life, former Alabama defensive back Chris Rogers has probably heard a variation of the aforementioned titles in his childhood. However, now, they can only refer to him in a positive light because that is exactly what Rogers has exemplified throughout his days at the Capstone as well as in his daily life now.
Growing up for Rogers was no different than the typical cautionary tales of an inner city African-American youth. Single-parent household, low socioeconomic standing, poor education, and a host of perceived role models unable to properly teach him the positive side of life.
For Rogers though, he couldn’t bare to envision his life turning out the way the script is usually meant to go. You see, in these stories, guys like Rogers are supposed to run the streets, drop out of school, commit some crimes, and become a statistic within the system for the majority of their lives until they either A. Wind up dead. B. Become incarcerated for an extended period of time. C. Eventually make a change later in life after their youth has been wasted, or D. None of the above — re-write the script themselves and change the narrative.
Changing the narrative is what Rogers has been on a mission to do for years. It started as an adolescent when he worked at Brothers Barbecue sweeping floors by his own volition — just to keep himself out of trouble. He went to two alternative schools, and by the time he was in ninth grade, he realized he could not read. Like so many inner city youths, Rogers found comfort in athletics and when it was evident he could be a success on the football field, his perception changed and he was able to manifest his abilities into attracting major colleges to offer him a scholarship.
Thanks to former Alabama coach Mike Shula, Rogers saw the light at the end of the tunnel and knew his dreams could become a reality with the Tide. Believing he had the opportunity to play, and play early — Rogers accepted the scholarship and sought out to do great things at Alabama. However, the coach he committed to in Shula was fired in 2006 and Rogers had a decision to make. With Nick Saban coming in, the promise of early playing time by Shula was not the same ideas Saban had and Rogers found himself planted on special teams and faced with another life altering decision. To stay — or to leave.
With so much turmoil surrounding Rogers at the time, his decision was all but made up in his mind to transfer and seek the playing time he desired — but one voice was too strong above his own. His mother, who was dying of cancer had one request — finish what you started and make her proud. Even his brother, who was incarcerated, motivated him that while he himself didn’t see the thrill of being a special teams contributor, it was a point of contention to see his younger brother running down on kickoffs making tackles and boasting to his fellow contemporaries. Now, Rogers had something to play for that was bigger than himself. Not only did he stay at Alabama, he managed to become the special teams captain and team leader in that department.
Out of over 30 players who were committed in the 2005 class with Rogers, a total of 13 lasted to win the first national championship in 2009, and a feeling of gratitude could not be more fitting for Rogers. The gratitude was not just in finishing what he started, but everything else that encompassed his journey at Alabama. Not only was Rogers a champion, he pledged a fraternity, graduated with not one, but two degrees in obtaining his Masters in Marketing and compiling a 3.9 GPA through it all.
Now, Rogers is his own boss as he has been operating TAP Inc. for the last five years. The company, which stands for Together Assisting People, is designed to prepare athletes to succeed in life outside of athletics. For the past five years, Rogers, with the help of business leaders throughout the state of Alabama and other sponsors, has partnered to assist many people and initiatives to better their situations as well as young athletes seeking to have a career in sports. According to Rogers, “I have had my own company for five years. I work for myself. Just trying to change the narrative, striving for greatness. The same attitude I had on the football field, I’m using that to everyday life. Showing people the right way to live. Being courteous to people, being nice — even when it’s tough…The idea is to teach players that, yeah you may be a football player now, but what will your life look like afterwards?”
For years, the narrative of Chris Rogers read a tune that did not sound too promising. Now, he’s impacting lives off the field more than he ever imagined he could while on it. In 2014, Rogers was named to Mobile Bay Magazine’s “40 Under 40” List.
For Rogers, the narrative has officially changed, and his star is shining brighter than it ever could on a football field.
To get a closer look of what Rogers has been doing since his time at Alabama, take a look at these videos: