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Jared Odrick, Ex-Pro Footballer and Lebanon Alumnus, Embarks on a New Journey

Upon the transition from 2021 to 2022, Jared Odrick found himself at a pivotal moment in his life. Celebrating his 34th birthday on New Year’s Eve, he stood five years distant from his seven-year tenure as an NFL defensive lineman, a stark contrast from his days as a standout at Penn State, not to mention Lebanon High School.

Never one to remain idle, as his playing career neared its end, he ventured into new territories. He ventured into acting, appearing in the TV series “Ballers” and various movies. Additionally, his written work graced the pages of [publication] and [publication].

At that juncture, he felt compelled to embark on a fresh journey, turning the page to a new chapter in his life.

“It’s akin to a birthday, a new year, a new me, all converging,” he shared during a recent phone interview.

Thus, he made a bold decision to pursue a career as a race-car driver.

A race-car driver?

Indeed, it was a significant departure from his previous endeavors.

Merely four days into 2022, he acquired a Porsche 991.1. By March of the same year, he secured his racing permit. Subsequently, he commenced his racing pursuits the following month and has since continued to do so.

In February of the current year, he inked a deal with [Racing Team], a Mooresville, North Carolina-based racing outfit. He participated in two races for them in the Trans Am Series. Unfortunately, his debut at Sebring (Florida) International Raceway in February was cut short due to an alternator issue.

“It’s been an immersion into a new world,” he reflected.

He relishes acquiring a new skill, appreciates the collaborative nature of the sport, and, naturally, enjoys the thrill of competition. While he acknowledges that races lack the raw intensity of NFL games, they undeniably satisfy a competitive itch that needed scratching.

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“I’m pleased that my competitive drive has led me here,” he expressed. “I’m genuinely thrilled to be part of this culture. The individuals I’ve encountered and the knowledge I’ve gained from them have been truly enriching.”

And to address the inevitable question, he firmly asserts that drivers are, without a doubt, athletes. According to him, maintaining “hyper-focus” during a race is essential, and the physical demands are indisputable. He has yet to invest in what is known as a cool suit, resulting in him emerging from his races drenched in sweat. Even before that, he realized the necessity to reshape his physique, shedding approximately 30 pounds from his NFL playing weight, bringing him down to 275 pounds.

However, he identifies the most significant challenge as developing a symbiotic relationship with the vehicle – comprehending its nuances, predicting its responses in various scenarios, and discerning when to push the limits and when to exercise restraint.

In February, Jared Odrick aligned himself with CB Motorsports, a racing team headquartered in Mooresville, North Carolina. (CB Motorsports)

“I wasn’t particularly passionate about cars during my youth in the Lebanon area,” he recalled, “but now that I’ve discovered the competitive aspect in it, I felt compelled to acquire the necessary knowledge to compete at a higher level, to enhance my speed, and to become a superior driver. The incentive now lies in competition rather than a mere hobby or fleeting interest. I approach it from a less superficial standpoint.”

Recollections of his younger days involve occasional road rally outings in Wellsboro with his uncle, Jake Falk. Nevertheless, Odrick’s interests veered elsewhere. He excelled in [sport] and [activity] during his senior year of high school, subsequently transitioning to [activity]. The Miami Dolphins selected him as the 28th pick in the 2010 draft, marking the commencement of his [team] tenure.

Following his retirement in 2016, he dedicated five years to “re-educating” himself. He gravitated back to Penn State, where he had earned a degree in sociology, immersing himself in diverse creative ventures.

It was in 2021 that he first glimpsed the potential within the realm of racing. After assisting a family friend, Ed Keturakis, with a roofing project at his New Mexico cabin, Keturakis introduced Odrick to his Mazda Miata and subsequently invited him to a race in Colorado.

The experience captivated Odrick.

“I was astounded,” he recounted, “by the multitude of non-professional race-car drivers who could competently navigate tracks with such precision, drive with such competitiveness, and how this racing world was open to anyone with the time, resources, competitive spirit, and skill. … I found the racing environment to be incredibly captivating.”

This revelation sparked his New Year’s resolution and subsequent deep dive into the racing realm. He actively seeks insights from fellow drivers, particularly his teammate Caleb Bacon, whose grandfather, Al, founded CB Motorsports in 1979 (now under the ownership of Chad, his father).

Odrick remains vigilant in learning from his errors. In Atlanta, for instance, a misinterpretation of the restart regulations led to a penalty. Coupled with a spinout, this setback impacted his standings, potentially costing him a top-10 finish.

The ongoing season, extending through October, presents numerous opportunities for growth. Despite encountering setbacks, he perceives progress and views his newfound pursuit in an overwhelmingly positive light.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to discover a realm that parallels football while feeling distinctly different,” he remarked. “It’s been an amazing experience. It feels like a new discipline in my life. Everyone likes to mention ‘adrenaline,’ but it has instilled in me a new discipline, a fresh focus, and I believe it offers the same to many individuals at the track.”

Far from merely treading water, Odrick envisions his life charting a promising new course – viewing this unexpected turn as potentially the most favorable one. Racing has reignited his sense of purpose and provided an avenue for his competitive spirit. Now, he eagerly anticipates pushing his limits and velocity to new heights.