Former NFL Player tackles an unlikely new career

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

A former NFL Player scores a new career path here in the Valley, all while giving back to the community.

He was a driving force for the Philadelphia Eagles, and now he's tackling new tasks and making a big impact on students' lives.

This is where you'll find Byron Evans most weekday mornings, with a stop sign in hand, Evans delivers a warm and personal welcome to students, teachers, parents at ASU's Preparatory Academy in Central Phoenix.

He knows every face and every name.  

“Good morning Adrianna. Good morning Nicole! Come on, come on across.”

When he's not helping students get to school safely as their crossing guard, you'll find Coach Evans on the school's football field.

"Let's go, great day to work! Let's go!"

Coach Evans is no stranger to the game.

“My previous life, I played professional football for the Philadelphia Eagles for  eight years.”

It was a time full of great memories and moments. One of the best moments, he says, was being drafted.

“My second was when I scored my first touchdown against the New York Giants.  It was an interception to where I have a famous dance. They call it "the Wiggle!”

And thanks to the Internet, we found that exact moment from his grid-iron glory days.

So how did this NFL player go from a professional football field to playing under the Friday night lights of a high school football field?

“They said they were looking for a coach. And they said they didn't care that I was a U of A guy. They wanted me because of who I am to start their program.”

It's a program ASU Prep never had. So suiting up as head coach and creating a new football program, was challenging, but it's a task he's successfully tackled and he says it's his passion for these students that keeps him going.

“Just because you're given a whistle doesn't make you a coach. I think it's our obligation that we pour into these young men's lives.”

And it's just not on the field where he's mentoring and inspiring kids. Coach Evans says it all starts at the beginning of the day, where a warm smile and reassuring word can make a real difference in a student's busy and sometimes bumpy life.

“ [It’s] another kind of ministry; it's a blessing to be the first they see and to say good morning.”

"He's always motivating me to do my work and get good grades," says an ASU Prep student. 

"He made it to the NFL so it shows like you can't give up on your dreams, that's the mentality he bring to every student that walks into this school,” says another student. 

He says his service is more like a calling from above.

“You know The Word says, ‘to whom much is given, much is also required.’ I've been given, I've been blessed, so this is one way I give back.”

On Sundays, you might catch Evans preaching at his church's pulpit. He's a licensed minister and a Sunday school teacher. 

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LiAna EnriquezLiAna Enriquez is a native of Arizona. She attended Marcos de Niza High School in Tempe, Arizona.

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LiAna Enriquez

She then went on to Arizona State University. She graduated summa cum laude from the University’s prestigious, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism with a degree in Journalism/Mass Communications with an emphasis in broadcasting.

LiAna started her news career with KTVK-TV as an intern. She loved it so much she never left! She has been with the station for fourteen years. Currently, she is the consumer investigative producer for Arizona’s top rated consumer segment, 3 On Your Side and is also a general assignment reporter. LiAna also reported for the station’s top rated high school sports show, ‘The Varsity Zone’ for five years.

In her free time LiAna enjoys cooking, watching movies, quading, and traveling. But her absolute favorite thing to do, is to hang out with her husband and beautiful daughters. She is a softball mom. She loves the beach and waterfalls! Her favorite team is the Arizona Cardinals and of course, the Sun Devils.

Life motto: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

If you have a story idea for LiAna, Send her an email .

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