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After five seasons in pro football, Crosby last year decided to invest in his future. And like many active players who own a business, a passion outside the sport compelled him.

Crosby’s interest in marketing was piqued during psychology and sociology classes as part of his communications major at the University of Colorado. Investing in the Orange Leaf frozen yogurt chain seemed a low-risk introduction to business.

As a franchisee, more experienced managers run the store while he still is able to push for answers to questions that intrigue him.

“How do we get people to come to the shop?” he recently wondered aloud. “How do we get people to think it’s great?”

Other players’ businesses require deeper involvement.

Defensive lineman Nate Collins and receiver Victor Cruz started the Young Whales clothing line as a hobby during the 2011 lockout. The idea hatched while the two New York Giants undrafted free agents were rookie roommates the previous year. Collins is enamored of casinos, so the term “whale,” describing a high roller, seemed perfect.

Collins and Cruz must be involved because they started the business from scratch. They also want to be active — football permitting. Now that Collins, a University of Virginia product, plays for the Chicago Bears, they make an extra effort to communicate.

They have Skype video meetings at least once a week with their designer, warehouse manager and marketing agent to ensure the business is on course. That also helps them solve problems, like the time manufacturing abruptly halted because of an extended Chinese holiday.

Young Whales sold autographed T-shirts for Superstorm Sandy relief at $50 and $100 apiece. After Cruz signed them in New York, he shipped them to Chicago for Collins to autograph. Collins had to sign them promptly to fill the orders and keep customers happy.

“If you’re a quarterback, you’ve got to know that your left tackle is going to protect your blind side,” Collins said. “It’s one of those things where you all have to work together, and we all have to trust each other.”

Collins sounded like a proud parent. These players want to show they’re multidimensional. Baltimore Ravens safety Bernard Pollard had that opportunistic mindset in 2011.

After entering the NFL in 2006, he occasionally witnessed players exchanging thousands of dollars in bets on a card game called Bourre. The game, which is similar to Spades, gained local notoriety in 2010 when Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton brought guns into the NBA team’s locker room following a dispute about it.

When Pollard learned there was no smartphone application for the game, he sought out Ryan Moats, his teammate with the Houston Texans in 2009. Moats has moved on from football and now owns Moatsworks Studios, a graphic design company.

“We’re business-minded, just like other people are, and we care about life after football,” Pollard said. “For me, I always want to work. I don’t ever want to be sitting around not doing nothing. I don’t think my wife would let me, anyway.”

Pollard invested what he called “a good chunk of money” in Moats’ company to develop a Bourre app for Apple products. The game, in which players gamble fake money, launched in August and costs 99 cents to download.

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