By Jeff Shearer
AUBURN, Ala. - Nosa Eguae came to a career crossroad two years ago.
Cut by the Atlanta Falcons the previous summer, the former Auburn defensive lineman was launching a career in medical device sales when the Oakland Raiders called, offering another shot at the NFL.
“It was a tough decision for me,” Eguae said. “I called my agent back, and I just said, ‘No. I’m done. I’m deciding to hang up the cleats.’ I wanted to be the guy who was able to make that transition, have success, and then turn around and bring other guys with me.”
Eguae’s Auburn career began and ended with SEC Championships, in 2010 and 2013. A redshirt freshman in 2010, Eguae made four tackles in Auburn’s 22-19 win over Oregon in the BCS National Championship Game.
“Coming from Texas, I wanted to be a part of a program with a storied tradition where I could play on the highest level and get a chance to play on the next level,” Eguae said. “Auburn offered me all of that and more.
“It was a perfect experience just to be able to be a part of such amazing teams, to play with such amazing players who are having so much success at the next level.”
The son of a college professor, Eguae earned a communication degree at Auburn while minoring in business.
“Academically, it was a prestigious university, and the resources that were in place to ensure my success were there,” he said. “And they did a great job during the recruiting process of showing me exactly what it was going to take to be successful. I just felt like it was all there for the taking. I just had to invest the time, put in the work and go get it.
“I took it as every day being an interview. I wanted to go out and attack the day, whether I was in the classroom, or doing community work or I was on the football field. I wanted to do it to the best of my ability, understanding that I was going to leave a legacy behind and I was going to set myself up for success in the future.”
Eguae’s transition from football to the corporate world benefited from a mentor who prepared Eguae for career success with interview tips and advice on breaking in to his chosen profession.
“The selfless time he poured into me helped shape the rest of my life,” Eguae said. His mentor, Richard Ward, an executive at Eguae’s employer, Baxter International, Inc., is the father of an Auburn graduate.
“He took the time to help make my transition seamless,” Eguae said. “I feel like I can’t do anything else but pay it forward and help other guys with the transition. That is something I’m super passionate about.”
Eguae encourages the Auburn family to be willing to help former student-athletes by providing internships and mentoring, as Ward did for him.
Based in Chicago, Eguae, who recently helped former Auburn football player Justin Garrett land a job at his company, continues to prioritize community service.
“Coach Malzahn just did an awesome job of letting us know we have this platform, and this platform can be used to bring attention to yourself, or you can bring attention to others,” Eguae said. “You can use your gifts to help other people.”
Just like he did at Auburn, Eguae volunteers with the Boys & Girls Club in Chicago. Last summer, he teamed up with another Auburn defensive lineman, Montravius Adams, at a Camp iCare event at Schmid Elementary.
“Joy was in those kids’ hearts,” Eguae said. “We shared how kids can have a giving heart, and through community engagement, they can be the stewards of their community and help their community grow into a better place.”
While at Auburn, Eguae connected with children at a literacy program on Mondays, the football team’s off day.
“I got so much joy out of helping them that I understood that this was going to be a part of my life forever.”
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer