Throughout the offseason, we'll catch up with former NFL players and coaches to find out what they have been up to since leaving the game.
The first overall selection in the 1975 NFL draft, Steve Bartkowski spent the first 11 seasons of his career etching his name in the Atlanta Falcons' history books. He led the NFL in passer rating in 1983 (97.6), and became one of only six quarterbacks in league history to post consecutive 30-touchdown passing seasons (1980 and 1981).
He also led Atlanta to divisional championships in 1980 and 1982, setting several franchise records in the process. Not surprisingly, when Bartkowski hung up his cleats in 1986 -- after spending his final season with the Los Angeles Rams -- he returned to the city where he left his mark.
"I've lived in Atlanta for 32 years now," Bartkowski said. "I kinda feel like a local."
The two-time Pro Bowler now works for DPR Construction Inc., one of the nation's leading general contracting firms, specializing in commercial building. Bartkowkski has been affiliated with DPR for 10 years, using his background in business development to help the company, founded in 1990, continue to grow.
The new venture has become a family affair, as he is joined at DPR by his wife, Sandee, of 27 years, and their two sons, Philip and Peter. He believes many of the lessons he learned on the football field have helped him become successful.
"There are a lot of similarities between football and construction, Bartkowski said: "It is definitely the ultimate team business. There are a lot of moving parts that have to come together."
While his work in construction certainly keeps him busy, Bartkowski has not completely forgotten about football. He is on the Falcons' board of directors, dealing with operational issues involving the franchise.
"We meet three to eight times per year, Bartkowski said. "It is great to engage and be a part of the process. I have a very good relationship with the owner (Arthur Blank). It is sort of neat to have a stake on the outcome of the ballclub."
He also serves on the board of director of several charitable organizations, and if his life was not enough of a success story, he maintains a scratch handicap in golf.