HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A former NFL player focused on a new dream of becoming a deputy after a career-ending injury prevented him from playing professional football again.

Deputy Marcus Appleflied, 26, grew up in the Tampa Bay area and was a standout football player at Weeki Wachee High School, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said.

The sheriff’s office said Applefield was the first player from his high school to receive a Division I football scholarship offer. He later signed on as a free agent with the Baltimore Ravens before joining the sheriff’s office.

(Photo by Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office)

“A lot of players, when they get done playing football, it’s so easy to stay in the football realm,” Applefield said. “But for me personally, I figured my whole life, I’ve been a football player and I wanted to be something different for once. That’s why I joined HCSO.”

Applefield joined the sheriff’s office in 2020. The sheriff’s office said Applefield patrols within HCSO’s District III, serving western Hillsborough County.

“For an athlete that doesn’t have a path that’s planned, I would tell them that at the end of the day, they’re not just a person in a jersey, and on the television,” Applefield said. “They can affect the community in so many different other ways, and make a positive influence.”