INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – From February to July, it is the offseason for the NFL. Players work out on their own and do offseason programming with the teams but one former Roncalli offensive lineman, now an LA charger, decided to spend some of his offseason this year preparing for life after football in the nation’s capital.
Cole Toner has spent most of his life protecting quarterbacks, first at Roncalli as a Rebel offensive lineman.
“I knew I wanted to be a football player when I was young,” Toner said after working out at the St. Vincent Center downtown. “And I wanted to play at Roncalli, there’s kind of a lineage there.”
After high school he head to Harvard to play football and major in government. After college it was on the pros, currently with the L.A. Chargers.
“I hope I can stick around because we’ve got a good team and we should be good next season.”
But it was this offseason that he started to prepare for a career after football. Cole has always been passionate about politics, so through the NFL Externship program he head to capital hill to intern for Indiana Republican senator Todd Young.
“It was a great experience, I actually got to do a lot of good work for Senator Young,” Toner said of the externship. “For different bills as a staff we kind of researched these bills and would write up a decision for him saying we think you should sign this or not sign this. I even got to write a tweet for him one time…but it definitely got proof read.”
As we have seen, politics and the NFL are far from separate. We saw players using their voice this season kneeling during the national anthem and while Toner didn’t personally participate, he appreciates the right this country brings to everyone to use their voice.
“I think ti’s certainly within people’s rights to do that,” Are they immune to criticism from it? No. But as citizens of a free society we can do that.”
The Roncalli grad says politics may be in his future after football, but not immediately.
“Right after football? Probably not,” Toner said with a laugh. “Maybe down the road.”
But no matter what he decides to do, Toner will take with him what hes learned in D.C. and on the field.
“In the end we’re all on the same side, we’re all vying for America. We’re all on the offense and the defense.”
Cole will work out in Indy until he heads back to L.A. for training camp with the Chargers.