Star Athletes: Where Are They Now?

Walter Abercrombie

Claim to fame: All-time leading rusher in Baylor University history. Played six years with Pittsburgh Steelers, one with Philadelphia Eagles before retiring.

Smart move: During final season, began to accept that his skills were diminishing. In 1988 accepted internship at American Football Coaches Association.

Second act: Director of education and special projects for coaches association, which seeks to improve coaching in college football.

He says: "My parents [put] their emphasis on education and life after sports. My father made sure I was aware that in a very short time I was going to hang up my cleats."

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Peter Cox

Claim to fame: Top American fencer starred at Penn State before representing U.S. in '96 Olympics.

Smart move: Despite temptations, retired after Olympics to study chiropractic care.

Second act: Heads Chiropractic Care Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

He says: "When you quit, you have this void because you're stopping a huge part of your life -- probably like losing a spouse. I got and held onto a vision of the way I wanted things to be. I focused on [seeing] people get well."

Mariah Burton Nelson

Claim to fame: Star forward for Stanford University women's basketball team in late 1970s, went on to play professionally in Europe and in WBL, first U.S. professional league for women.

Smart move: Excellent student who knew her basketball career was only a gateway to another profession.

Second act: Wrote five books on sports (including Are We Winning Yet?: How Women Are Changing Sports and Sports Are Changing Women), past president of National Speakers Association.

She says: "In my early years after basketball, I realized if I didn't do something soon about my dream of becoming a writer, I might never do it. I feel very fortunate that I had another talent to develop."

Bev Oden

Claim to fame: 1990 NCAA Women's Volleyball Player of the Year; four-time All-American; member of 1996 U.S. Olympic team.

Smart move: Despite lucrative offers to continue career overseas, took job as reporter at Sports Illustrated.

Second act: Documentary filmmaker in Southern California.

She says: "I was never one of those who loved their sport so much they couldn't see themselves doing something else. I wanted to travel overseas, but not to play."

Roger Staubach

Claim to fame: Hall of Fame quarterback; played in four Super Bowls with Dallas Cowboys.

Smart move: Bypassed opportunity to stay in pro football as announcer or coach.

Second act: Started and runs The Staubach Co., a commercial real estate firm with 50 offices worldwide.

He says: "I had three kids, so I was more motivated to have an alternative life in case some linebacker took my head off."

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