JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
BURNET — Though former Burnet High School standout quarterback Stephen McGee lived the dream of professional football for several years, he told folks during the 12th annual Emory Bellard-Spike Dykes Kids Care-A-Van Tailgate Party that he was ready to focus on the next phase of his life, though the gridiron will always remain a big part of who he is.
McGee, a former Texas A&M University quarterback, and his wife, Britney, were among the many who attended the annual tailgate party and golf tournament, which raises money for children’s health care services. The event, which was June 19-20, gave McGee an opportunity to chat with some old friends and give back to his hometown.
“Happy to be a part of this,” McGee said. “It’s a great event and special for me to be included on anything involving the Burnet community. It’s given so much to me and my family. It’s a place I love.”
McGee said he is finished playing professional football.
He spent three years with the Dallas Cowboys after being picked by them in the fourth round of the 2009 NFL Draft.
The former Texas A&M quarterback was among the final cuts in 2012. In January 2013, he signed a free-agent contract with the Houston Texans but was waived eight months later.
In September 2013, McGee signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, a member of the Canadian Football League, and spent one-and-a-half years there. He finished with the CFL in December.
Today, he works for Mass Mutual Financial Group of South Texas in College Station, where he and his wife have their dream home.
“I have a different playbook,” he said. “I’m a Texas boy. I needed to be in Texas. I didn’t realize how much Texas meant to me. I’m thrilled to be back.”
McGee learned the down side of being an athlete at the college and professional levels while playing at Texas A&M and in the NFL.
“The criticism (from fans) I took at (A&M) was hard,” he said. “We didn’t have good teams – that’s hard. A&M is a special, special place to me. It took time for me to heal. I have great friends there.”
McGee acknowledged he would take a different approach with the Cowboys if he could do it over again. He said he felt anxious with the team, which coaches noticed. They told him he needed to believe he had the ability to play in the NFL.
“I didn’t relax and play,” he said. “But I got to live that dream and do that for the better part of four years. So much of the business is being in the right place at the right time.”
While he is starting a new career, his wife has been modeling for quite some time.
“She’s really thrown herself into her modeling career,” he said with a giant smile. “I couldn’t be more proud of what she’s doing.”
McGee is looking forward to experiencing life without football after devoting so much to the sport. But he isn’t sure if he’ll miss it.
“I’ll find out,” he said with a smile. “This will be the first August in 20 years. It might be shocking to not be in pads.”