Raheem Brock is driven by a set of very specific goals.
The Murrell Dobbins Tech product and current Indianapolis Colts defensive lineman always wanted to play in the NFL. Now entering his eighth year in the league, Brock wanted something to fall back on.
In March, he was able to check off another item on his life to-do list by opening his own restaurant. Brock's Wingstop - a franchise of the Dallas-based national chicken-wing company founded in 1994 - flipped on its fryers across the street from his alma mater, Temple, on North Broad Street.
"I always wanted to open my own business," Brock said. "It was a dream come true. Playing with [fellow Philadelphia native] Marvin Harrison, seeing what he is doing with real estate in Philly, it opened my eyes. He inspired me. I wanted to follow what he was doing in the city."
Brock, a Germantown native, decided on a Wingstop franchise because he said it offered the perfect mix of hands-on and watch-from-afar ownership for a busy professional athlete. He splits his time "pretty evenly" between Philly and Indianapolis.
"I did a lot of research," he explained. "I didn't want to go too big or too small. I wanted something that wouldn't take too much of my time to start. For example, a place like Dunkin' Donuts wants the owner to be there all the time.
"It is an up-and-coming franchise. To me, it seemed like a no-brainer. Everyone loves wings."
But that doesn't mean Brock - who turned 31 last week - is an absentee owner during the football season. He didn't get involved to simply fund a community business.
"I'm in and out [of Wingstop] all week when I am home," Brock said. "Even when I am in Indy, I still have an eye on things. I always know what's going on."
His venture has been a successful one. Brock - who is putting his Temple marketing degree to good use - plans to open two more locations in Philly before the summer is over.
The second location, slated to open sometime next month, will be at Red Lion Road and Roosevelt Boulevard in Northeast Philly. Another is planned for West Philly in September.
Overall, Wingstop hopes to add 75 stores to the Northeast region over the next 5 years.
Brock admits that such a rapid entrepreneurial expansion would not be possible without the help of others.
"The degree helps, and it has been a lot of work, but Temple has helped me a lot," he said. "They helped me find the location. A lot of students go there and there is a ton of memorabilia in there.
"This has provided a lot of jobs for family members. They help run it for me when I'm not in town. It was important for me to create jobs for the community, too."
When Brock isn't at Wingstop, training for the upcoming season or visiting the old neighborhood, he is busy building Brock's Kids Foundation.
"I started the foundation 3 years ago, pushing underprivileged kids to stay on the right track with athletics and education. I know that there are a lot of distractions out there," Brock said.
While his specific goals have provided a path to success, there were still a few missteps along the way. But he has always landed on his feet.
For instance, Brock - a first-team Daily News All-Decade member - went to Temple as a tight end but was forced to switch to defensive end during his freshman season. He finished his career with 160 tackles and garnered a second-team All-Big East selection during his senior year.
Just a few months after getting drafted by his hometown Eagles in the seventh round in 2002, Brock was unexpectedly cut.
He was a victim of the salary cap. The Eagles had run out of money to sign rookies and Brock was released on July 26, 2002. He signed with the Colts 2 days later.
Brock helped the Colts to Super Bowl XLI in February 2007 while he built a streak of 72 consecutive starts and earned a reputation as one of the most versatile players on Indy's stingy defense.
"I didn't expect to have the career that I have had, winning a Super Bowl," he said. "I'm just an athlete that knows how to work hard. Temple taught me that. Now, I just push kids to keep working toward their dreams."
As for Brock's dreams, there are still a few left to achieve. The Pro Bowl is one. Acting is another.