Laurence Maroney Unplugged: From St. Louis to the Super Bowl

An Interview With Chad Silverstein

Growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, Laurence Maroney set the stage for his future successes at Normandy High School, establishing a record for the highest single-season rushing yards. His exceptional talent then led him to the University of Minnesota. There, Maroney's prowess on the field was undeniable, rushing over 1,000 yards in each of his initial three seasons. His extraordinary achievements earned him accolades such as the All-Big Ten First-team honors twice, recognition as an All-American by entities like Pro Football Weekly and, and a prestigious induction into the University of Minnesota Hall of Fame. His college career set the foundation for his entry into the NFL as the 21st overall pick by the New England Patriots, a testament to his hard work and dedication

Maroney's vision transcends his athletic achievements. He aspires to be a guiding force for younger generations in his community, embodying the mentor he wished he had during his formative years. His commitment is deeply rooted in the belief that with unwavering determination and drive, anyone can realize their grandest aspirations. Through the LM39 Foundation, Laurence is actively creating a nurturing environment for youth. This initiative is dedicated to cultivating leadership skills, promoting healing, and fostering growth. The Foundation's activities encompass a broad spectrum, from financial support to educational and athletic programs, emphasizing the crucial aspect of mental health support for athletes. Recognizing that mental health challenges are universal, the Foundation prioritizes bringing these issues to light, especially those unique to athletes, and provides essential resources and support systems to enhance their mental well-being.

Let’s dive right in. You played in the NFL for six years. How much of a culture shock was it when you transitioned away from playing football?

It was because sports brought so much to my life, a major part of my identity. When it was over, it felt like losing a big part of who I am. From 2014 to 2018, I suffered from some depression and struggled a bit financially. A lot of the money I had was going, and I didn’t have financial literacy. 2018 was a turning point when I met my lady, which helped me start digging out of this hole and get on solid ground.

Who had the biggest influence on your life when you were younger?

My mother. She was always my biggest fan, my biggest supporter, my inspiration. Just watching her work so hard every day and still come home and take care of me was a big deal. She would take me all over the city from this practice to that practice, showing up to every game, and never missing a game or practice. Just watching her raise our family was amazing. me and my brothers and sisters. It gave me a lot of motivation to help and try to change our situation.

What’s one of the best things you learned from your mom that still influences you?

That’s easy, and I tell my kids all the time: “The only person that’s going to stop you is you.” I live by those words. I knew I wouldn’t let anything or anyone stop me. If I wasn’t going to be successful, it wouldn’t be because someone else stood in my way. It would be because I stopped myself. So, I make sure my kids know they can be whatever they want to be

Who or what has been your biggest influence or impact later in life?

Most people might say a coach, but for me, it was my family and my desire to want more for me and those around me. I always held myself to a higher standard because I didn’t want to just live a normal life.

With your success in multiple high school sports, was football always your #1 sport sport?

Actually, it was baseball, not football. Football was more of a learning experience for me. I hadn’t played running back until my freshman year of high school. But, I’ve always had a natural talent for baseball since I was young. However, in high school, it didn’t work out with the baseball team. So, I turned to track, knowing it would help me improve in football.

Talk to me about your college experience at Minnesota.

It was amazing. I was treated so great. You are put on a pedestal when you’re a good athlete on campus. I hardly ever had to pay for anything. After three years, I was faced with a choice between another year in college or entering the NFL. With scouts showing interest and a good chance of being drafted, I chose to leave for the NFL.

What’s a common NFL stereotype that you found to be untrue?

One of the biggest stereotypes is most people think everyone in the NFL is rich. I remember when I found out how much some of the guys who only play on the practice squad make, and I can assure you, they are not rich. The big contracts we hear about in the media are not for everyone. You might be surprised how many people on the roster don’t have a big contract. There’s a lot.

Once you got to the NFL, who stood out to as a strong leader? Did you look up to anyone?

We had a lot of great leaders on the team, but Corey Dillon was the guy who stood out the most for me. I learned a lot from him. He played the same position and he was an example of what I was trying to do. I could appreciate learning from him more than the coaches because he played the position and understood the game from the field, which is what I was looking for when seeking guidance.

Talk to me about the financial impact of it and what you thought it would be after being drafted in the first round by the Patriots. Was it everything you thought it would be and more?

That’s a funny story. I remember my signing bonus was supposed to be $1 million. When I got to the office to pick up my check I was so excited and couldn’t wait to call my friends because none of us had ever seen a check that big. I looked at the check and it was a little more than half. I was like what’s going on? I called my mom and it was the first time I blatantly cussed in front of my mother on the phone. I was like, who is FICA? Who are these people? She just started laughing. I told her to stop laughing and thought someone was robbing me. I had no clue since I didn’t have a job before and didn’t know anything about how taxes worked. We didn’t have any financial literacy growing up. I couldn’t understand why they were taking so much money. That was my first introduction to the real world.

How hard was it for you to trust people?

I trusted people too much. I knew there were bad people in the world, but I didn’t think I would be taken advantage of by the people who were helping me. I thought, if I’m paying you and keep making more money, then you’ll make more, so there’s no need to get one over on me. But there were some situations where I didn’t like the way things played out. Again, I didn’t know how things were supposed to work so it was all a learning experience for me.

How would you describe the difference between the leadership styles of players versus the coaches?

That was hard for me because nobody wants to be told what to do by someone who has never done it themselves. You can be the greatest coach of all time, but if you’ve never been in the backfield it can be frustrating when someone is telling you what and how you should be doing everything. That’s why I gravitated towards Corey because he rushed for more than 10,000 yards and I’ve got a lot of respect for that.

What’s the story behind your fantasy football commercial when you jumped through the car window?

Oh, man, that was a long time ago when fantasy football first came out and nobody was really into it. Reebok first started running commercials to get everyone excited about it. So a lot of the guys who had deals with Reebok got to do a commercial for it to try and persuade people to pick us for their fantasy team. I think mine was one of the best ones they came up with.

How hard was the transition after leaving the NFL?

It was hard. Football brought so much to my life and when it ended I felt like I lost a big part of who I was. It was a challenging time in my life and I knew I had to figure things out for myself, but I didn’t know how. It took time to understand that, but I eventually realized that I’m still Laurence Maroney. It’s been a journey of self-discovery, finding out who I am beyond football. I was also blessed with some people in my life that helped me see things clearly and once I turned the corner a lot of good things started to happen. It’s a work in progress, especially mentally, so I’m always working on it.

Tell me about your non-profit LM39?

Sure, it’s a foundation committed to providing a safe space for kids. We focus on giving them a chance to succeed mentally and physically on and off the field. It’s more about helping them have a positive mindset so they can grow up and be a leader.

Where can people learn more about it?

Our website is

Thanks, Laurence. I’ve interviewed a lot of people and I love how genuine and transparent you are. I appreciate you sharing your story and wish you nothing but success in everything you do.