Dante Pettis is only just beginning to break out in the NFL, but he’s already thinking about what will come after football. In fact, he already knows what he’s going to do the day after he retires. 

Drafted in the second round of this year’s draft by the San Francisco 49ers, the 23-year-old receiver/returner has caught seven passes for 108 yards and a touchdown in his brief pro career, which comes after his career at the University of Washington saw him rack up 2,256 receiving yards and 24 touchdown catches. He’s already eyeing what’s next, even though his journey in the NFL has only just begun.

“I think about my future pretty much every day,” he said. “What I want to do outside of football is very special to me.”

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Pettis says he wants to play football until the day it stops being fun. That obviously hasn’t happened yet, but that won’t prevent Pettis from planning his first day in his post-NFL life. He wants to create art.

“My first day of retirement will consist of me going on a safari and taking pictures of a bunch of animals in Africa — working for a wildlife publication,” he said. “I love photography so much because it captures a moment. All you get to see is that moment, but there’s a lot of feelings that can come out of it, a lot of memories or imagination that can go on just from looking at one still picture.”

He doesn’t want to stick with just photography. He also wants to pick up a pen.

“For me, words are strung together to create something,” he said. “When stuff can bring out a feeling or an emotion, that’s really what I enjoy most. I’m going to write stories that are about people finding their way and finding their purpose in life. You never know what a story can do for someone. That’s something that’s going to be very fulfilling for me.”

Additionally, he wants to create an art foundation to help people get into college with scholarships. While he’s doing all of this — the photography, the writing, and the foundation — he’ll be surrounded by cats. 

Yes, cats. Cats are very much part of his future.

“I do not think you have a ton of control over how many kids you have or when you get married, but what I will have control over is the amount of cats that I’ll have,” he said.” I love cats, like I’m obsessed with them. I extremely enjoy big cats. I don’t want to go overboard and get like 20, but I’ll have around six.”

In the meantime, Pettis will look to help the 49ers finally turn into a contender after a lengthy rebuilding process. The 49ers haven’t made the playoffs since 2013. But with Jimmy Garoppolo in place as their franchise quarterback in addition to a promising core that’s surrounding him, the 49ers are expected to morph into a playoff-caliber team beginning next season when Garoppolo returns from the torn ACL. Pettis should continue to evolve with the rest of the group. Though he’s stuck behind players like Marquise Goodwin and Pierre Garcon on the depth chart right now, he’s still impressed when he’s been given a chance to play.

Regardless of how the rest of his career shakes out, he’s confident he’ll be satisfied with the life he creates for himself. 

“When I look back after I’m done with everything, I will be extremely amazed at what I’ve done. I’ll be very grateful for the things that I’ve created and the people I’ve helped out, the family that I have,” he said. “Yeah, I’m pretty excited for the rest of my life. It’s going to be awesome.”





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