La’Roi Glover began his playing days as a San Diego third-generation football star. And then just like his grandfather John Glover and father Lawrence Glover, he transitioned into a third-generation San Diego football mentor.
Glover played 13 NFL seasons before until 2008 and was hired in 2010 by the St. Louis Rams as their Director of Player Engagement. He helps players prepare for life after pro football. It’s a move he made easily, earning a MBA and working for ESPN before the Rams extended him the job offer. Glover, 42, has remained with the franchise through the move to Los Angeles.
“The main thing I tell our players is every day is an interview,” Glover said. “No matter what you’re doing when you’re playing professionally, people are watching. We try to work with the whole person. We discuss career development, financial advice, education and family. Oftentimes you get labeled as just a football player. But even if you’re lucky and you play 10 years, you’re only 31 when you’re done playing. You still have a lot of life to live.”
Glover first followed in the footsteps of his grandfather and father playing Pop Warner football. He kept collecting honors along the way.
— He was a high school All-American defensive lineman at San Diego’s Point Loma High, where his No. 76 is retired.
— He was a recruiting coup for San Diego State when he stayed home for his college career. He was An All-Western Athletic Conference pick and was enshrined in the Aztec Hall of Fame.
— He played 13 seasons in the NFL with four teams. He was a six-time Pro Bowl choice, four-time All-Pro pick, 2000 NFC Defensive Player of the Year and named to the NFL 2000s All-Decade team.
Following his playing days with days spent mentoring also mimicked the paths of his late grandfather and father.
John Glover was president of the San Diego Pop Warner after retiring from the U.S. Marine Corps. He had played football for the San Diego Marine Corps Recruit Depot teams coached by San Diego legendary coach Bull Trometter. In the days before the Vietnam War and the end of the draft, MCRD frequently played college teams, including San Diego State until 1963. Trometter’s record was 87-7.
Lawrence Glover coached La’Roi on the Valencia Pop Warner team. Lawrence played at Lincoln High, a San Diego power that has turned out Marcus Allen and Terrell Davis among many other college and NFL players. Allen won the Heisman Trophy and was an NFL and Super Bowl MVP. Davis was an NFL and Super Bowl MVP. The late Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam played for Valencia Pop Warner, although he attended La Jolla Country Day.
It wasn’t until Glover was older that he understood and appreciated the time and effort his grandfather and father spent providing guidance to young kids.
The first recognition was when he was 11 years old. Glover, always big for his age, said he started “hanging around with the wrong crowd.”
“When some of the older guys found out who my grandfather was, they said, ‘No, you can’t hang out with us. If you’re grandfather found out, he’d kill us’ My grandfather tried to keep kids on the straight and narrow path. He had a lot of respect in the community from a lot of people.”
Glover said he also learned from his high school coach, the late Bennie Edens, a San Diego legend that coached 44 years at Point Loma until retiring in 1998.
In the NFL, he credits Mike Ditka, a member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame, for rejuvenating his NFL career with the New Orleans Saints.
Glover had played through an injury-plagued senior season at San Diego State in 1995 that dropped him to a fifth-round draft pick by the Oakland Raiders. He spent the 1996 season with the Raiders before he was cut.
He played for the Barcelona Dragons in the 1997 NFL Europe spring league and earned a contract with the Saints.
“My time in Barcelona was a phenomenal experience,” Glover said. “I looked at it as an opportunity to grow and put out some tape showing I can perform at a high level. It also was a chance to travel, and I still love to see the world.”
Glover was considered a bit undersized by the Raiders at 270 pounds, but he regained his confidence in Barcelona and built on it while playing for Ditka.
“He made a big difference in my career,” Glover said. “He said, ‘I don’t care how big you are. I just want to know if you can play football.’ That’s all I needed to hear.”
In the 2000 season, Glover led the NFL in sacks with 17 and was the NFC Defensive Player of the Year.
Glover later starred for the Dallas Cowboys before he joined the Rams. In a 2005 Cowboys-Raiders game, Glover frustrated the late Al Davis, the Raiders owner. Former NFL player Martin Bayless was a Raiders assistant coach at the time, and he later told Glover a story about Davis’ frustration.
In the post-mortem film session following the Raiders loss to the Cowboyus, Davis joined the coaches. He kept muttering about Glover playing all day in the Raiders’ backfield. Bayless added the assistants looked at each but decided it was pointless to remind the aging Davis that he was the one who had cut Glover.
Glover is now entering his seventh year with the Rams as Director of Engagement. He had worked six months for ESPN before he took the job, but he prefers his role with the Rams.
“First, you always want to give back to football in any capacity,” Glover said. “Second, there are only 32 seats in the NFL. If you let that seat you’re offered go by, there is no telling how long you’ll have to wait for another opportunity. I enjoy helping players with life decisions.”
La’Roi has spent his career on a different level, but he’s followed important roles filled by his grandfather John and father Lawerence as a player and mentor.