Favorite announces retirement from pro football _lowres

Advocate staff photo by RUSTY COSTANZA Cleveland Gladiators quarterback Chris Dieker, center, is sacked by the New Orleans VooDoo's Marlon Favorite (99), Wesley Mauia, bottom, and Michael Janac.

Marlon Favorite says you never, truly quit football.

You simply continue the game on a different venue, from a changed perspective.

And now, his venue is no longer the playing field. Favorite, a New Orleans native, announced on Tuesday his retirement from professional football, ending a playing career which includes a 2007 BCS championship at LSU and Super Bowl XLIV title as a member of the Saints practice squad.

His new challenge: To continue elevating his business, Favorite Strength and Fitness.

Favorite, 28, spent the last four seasons playing for the New Orleans VooDoo in the Arena Football League. He leaves tied for the franchise record in sacks (131/2).

“Though we are sad to lose him between the walls, we know that he will always be a part of the VooDoo as a community ambassador, a friend, and family member,” said VooDoo General Manager Brandon Rizzuto.

Like most players of the VooDoo, Favorite has worked or coached outside his player obligations — from appearing in small acting roles and working as a movie stuntman to working as a color analyst at high school football games for Cox Communications and growing his personal fitness business. He’s also served as an assistant coach for De La Salle football and opened concerts for headliners as a member of Black Vynm, a rap group.

Still, Favorite said he’s declined non-sports jobs offers in the past, a decision he became less-inclined to repeat this offseason.

“This is something I’ve been thinking about for awhile,” he said. “It was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up, taking into account my two little boys and my wife and to secure family security in the years to come.”

After LSU, Favorite spent time with 10 NFL teams and two squads in the United Football League, from Seattle to Washington, D.C., to St. Louis.

In 2014, Favorite appeared in When the Game Stands Tall. He also appeared in 22 Jump Street and completed stunt work in Will Smith’s Focus, debuting in theaters later this month.

Favorite Strength and Fitness hosts classes on Mondays and Wednesdays (5:30 a.m., 6:30 p.m.) and also on Fridays (5:30 a.m.) and Saturdays (9 a.m.). Classes are held Uptown at Crescent City Boxing gym and cost $129 a month for unlimited usage.

The company recently added sports training for middle-school aged athletes to professionals.

“A lot of guys fly under the (recruiting) radar,” said Favorite, a former blue-chip recruit. “A lot of guys aren’t getting the exposure that the other big-named guys get. We think we can help.”

Also, Favorite will host the FSF Elite Winter Football Camp, Feb. 28 at Behrman Stadium. The Cost is $65. For more information, visit http://www.fsfcamps.com.