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After this first taste with the NFL, Penn Alumni Mitch Marrow went on to have a short professional football career that was ended by injuries. Credit: DP Archives

As far as career paths go for Penn graduates, Mitch Marrow has had an unconventional one. 

Starting at Penn in 1993, Marrow pursued pre-law studies while excelling as an athlete on the football team. 

One of the Red and Blue's best defensive linemen in the program’s long history, Marrow earned numerous accolades. He leads Penn’s records in most sacks in a season with 16.5 and is second in career sacks 25.5. 

In addition to receiving the Chuck Bednarik award in 1996 — an award presented annually to the best defensive player in college football — the defensive tackle was also selected to the All-Ivy team twice. 

In his senior year, Marrow was invited to play in The Senior Bowl National College All-Star football game — an honor only given to the 100 best college football players in the country. In fact, Marrow was the only Ivy League player invited to participate in the game. 

Following the tremendous success Marrow found with Penn’s football program, he declared for the 1998 NFL Draft. He was selected in the third round by the Carolina Panthers, making him one of the highest Ivy League draft picks in recent NFL history. 

In the NFL Combine — a week-long showcase where college players demonstrate their athletic prowess through a series of physical tests — Marrow broke records for defensive linemen in both bench press (585 pounds) and vertical leap (41 inches). 

Unfortunately for Marrow, a series of injuries and back surgeries prevented his NFL career from ever taking off. 

After his two-year stint in the NFL, Marrow worked in various investment firms across the country, utilizing his Penn education to become a successful hedge fund executive. 

Many would consider this career move a natural path. After all, heading to work in finance is typical of Ivy League graduates. Leaving the world of Wall Street to pursue a dog daycare company, however, was anything but typical.

To Marrow, his almost 10 years in the world of finance allowed him to become the successful entrepreneur that he is today.

"I used [Wall Street] to help open some doors and get people to listen to some of the non-football stuff I had to say," Marrow said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

In January of 2009, Marrow kicked off his pet services company, the Spot Group, with two facilities in New York City. Investing over $1 million in his venture, Marrow eventually grew the business to include several more locations around the New York area.

“I saw the business opportunity that started to come into place as people started to humanize their pets,” Marrow said to SmartCEO Magazine. “I thought there was some real opportunity to get some real business focus behind this very unique pet services opportunity.”

The Spot Group earned notable dog care contracts with top real estate developers, hospitality partners, and airlines to provide services throughout the U.S. Most notably, Marrow managed to negotiate deals with United Airlines Petsafe division, Google, and Starwood Hotels, among others.

Successfully selling his company in 2017, Marrow has since moved onto yet another career path. 

Today, Marrow works on Paradigm Biopharmaceuticals’ investor relations team, a company focused on developing a knee osteoarthritis treatment.

With his NFL career cut short due to injury, Marrow was invited, along with 10 other former NFL players, to receive the first doses of this groundbreaking osteoarthritis treatment. 

"The treatment was so life-changing in treating my years of pain and lack of mobility that I am thrilled more former NFL players will have access to this incredible drug in the U.S. under the expanded access program," Marrow announced in a press release.

This NFL defensive end-turned dog daycare businessman is trailblazing a new path for Penn graduates — it’s probably safe to say we have yet to see an alumnus like him.