Eugene Profit’s arrival in Washington was barely noted by The Post sports section. The former Patriots cornerback was signed by the team in March of 1989, news The Post noted under a headline “Redskins Ticket Prices To Go Up Next Season.”
“Profit, 5 feet 10, 165 pounds, is fast and always has been labeled intelligent, probably because he attended Yale,” read the nugget, which came on the same day that the Redskins signed a young guard/tackle named Ray Brown.
(As for those ticket prices? The prized mezzanine seats at RFK were going up from $30 to $35, while the 200 and 300-level seats in the lower deck, plus the upper-deck 500-level numbers moved from $20 to $25 a game.)
That, oddly, was about as much publicity as Profit got throughout his tenure with the Redskins. He played in the 1989 preseason opener and severely injured his hamstring in the ensuing Hall of Fame preseason game against the Bills. He stuck around on injured reserve that season, failed his physical because of a ruptured hamstring the next spring, and wound up retiring without ever appearing in a regular-season game. It wasn’t enough for him even to earn a spot in the team media guide’s all-time player register, although his scant playing time didn’t stop Jack Kent Cooke from giving him a silver spoon to mark the birth of his daughter.
Still, his Redskins tenure was enough to keep Profit in the D.C. area after his football career ended. From Centreville, where Profit lived during his Redskins days, he moved to Montgomery County, worked for Chase Manhattan Bank and Legg Mason and wound up founding Profit Investment Management, a Silver Spring-based financial firm that now has $2 billion in assets under management.
He started appearing on cable shows as a financial analyst, has been profiled in a handful of financial publications and last weekend, was given the Reginald F. Lewis Award — named after the first black man to build a billion-dollar company — during a banquet in East Hampton.
The award honors a black entrepreneur who achieved international business success before the age of 50.
“This one’s quite flattering to me, and quite important,” Profit, 46, told me. “I’ve had lots of e-mails and calls from athletes saying that they’ve been kind of inspired by the story, that they want to work on Wall Street, and that’s what was important to Reginald Lewis. So to continue on that type of legacy makes that very special to me.”
Profit has run into a few of his fellow Redskins alumni through the years; he talks to Gary Clark on occasion, and has run into Doc Walker and Dexter Manley. His loyalty to the team, though, is as a fan and a suite holder, someone who takes clients to FedEx Field and who has yet to pay for his 2011 tickets, making “my own little protest” against the lockout.
“The thing that bothers me the most is the fans in the NFL are getting, on occasion, short shrift,” Profit said. “The stadiums are getting larger and the experience is not getting better. They probably need to look at the ways fans are being taken for granted to some extent; that’s what you hear all over the country.”
Profit’s position coach with the Redskins, Emmitt Thomas, had asked him whether he would go into coaching. His training camp roommate, Martin Mayhew, went on to become the general manager of the Detroit Lions. His daughter, Rachel, was an All-Met volleyball player at Maret who went on to play for Maryland and now studies Sports Management at Georgetown. Eugene Profit’s biggest accomplishments, though, clearly did not involve sports.
“I didn’t know anything about Wall Street or any of this growing up, and the only way I was able to consider this type of career was to read about it or live about it through someone else,” he told me. “And if I never was exposed to it, maybe I would have been a coach, but I was. So winning the award, having people respond in that matter, makes me think maybe I’m adding something back, continuing that legacy.”