ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Tim Wright had another nameplate at Rutgers, one he was as proud of as the one he had in the football locker room. On a black chair in the team's facility, there was a small white sign reading "Tim Wright, Team Barber."
Wright was a standout football player at Rutgers before heading to the NFL, where he finished his third season in 2015. He was also the team's official stylist. It's the pride in his skill with shears and buzzers that is leading to his second career. The 25-year-old is planning on opening his own shop, "The Wright Cut," at some point this offseason on the Livingston campus at Rutgers.
It's his way of giving back and also moving forward with whatever happens after football. Not that football is done; he hopes to find a home heading into restricted free agency with the Detroit Lions this week.
"I started on my own hair and it spread to friends and peers," Wright said. "In college, it spread all throughout college like an epidemic. Yeah, I did charge. When I first started, I didn't charge because it was something I did from my heart, something I loved and something I always loved.
"I love it even more today because of the aspect of giving back to the community."
Wright carried a bag of his supplies around the Rutgers campus as a student, willing to cut anyone's hair who asked. He'd have shears, buzzers and product ready to go at a moment's notice in what he estimated as a 40-pound bag.
Wright says he has worked on over 300 people, eventually charging $5 for a trim and $10 for a full haircut when he was in college. His prices vary now, but he said he averages around $20 a haircut depending on what is required to get everything right.
He cut back on his business during his first three years in the NFL, although he still worked on teammates in Tampa Bay, New England and Detroit -- there were many who were familiar with the skill of his hands on the field and in the chair.
There's pride for Wright in his haircuts. Each one is a piece of art, something he saw as an extension of another childhood hobby, drawing.
"I used pencil and paper to express some cool thing that I like and the kick that I got out of it was the amount of detail I put into it and then seeing the finished product, analyzing it, seeing that it is flawless," Wright said. "That's what I do with my haircuts."
Wright has been cutting hair for 13 years, starting on his own head after his father, Davel, brought clippers out when Wright was a kid in Neptune, New Jersey. He has cut his own hair almost every week since.
He fell in love with the family's amateur passion and turned pro in the world of hair before he did in football. Wright's father cut hair. His grandfather and great-grandfather did, too. None, though, turned it into a potential career.
Wright started cutting hair in his neighborhood. When he arrived at Rutgers, he expanded his business and started to think about it as something to do in the future.
Wright believes he can help the world, one haircut at a time. He's working on securing a building location at Rutgers for his shop. It'll give him a chance to influence college kids while also providing them with a haircut and advice for a fee.
The tight end, who was picking up tips at the NFL's Business Academy at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan last week, wants to tie the shop into his foundation. The Wright Way Academy's mission is to help underprivileged children intertwine the worlds of athletics, academics and quality of life.
In his long-term goals, Wright's planned barbershop is part of a larger plan to benefit the community. He figures, why not start with his biggest passion other than football and family, something he has been doing half his life? He'd like to see other people fall in love with cosmetology and cutting hair, because he believes a clean appearance is the best way to a strong first impression.
"I know the barbershop industry is a field of competition," Wright said. "Everybody wants to be the best barber or the best stylist and show that their art is unique and different than everyone else's. I'm at a place where I'm content and proud of what I do on a consistent basis.
"It's not just about the cut. It's about the service that you provide."