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‘Match Made In Heaven’ star and retired NFL player talks faith, love and football

Stevie Baggs on being undefeated in life and his search for true love

Life after football has turned out to be good for retired NFL linebacker Stevie Baggs. The 34-year-old has maintained a successful nonprofit agency, written a best-selling book and dabbled in acting and motivational speaking.

There is still one thing he has yet to conquer: love. So he has decided to try his hand at finding his soul mate through reality television, making him one of the very few black TV bachelors. He is the star in the second season of WE TV’s Match Made in Heaven that we introduced last week. Now Baggs has talked to us about his quest for love.

“It was a great opportunity,” he told The Undefeated, when asked why he did the show and if he thinks he’ll actually find true love.

“I am single. I am an entrepreneur, but more importantly I wanted to find that woman who could help complete what I have already started and built here,” Baggs said.

“I think when you come into a situation where you cut out a lot of the riffraff, because these women, they were interviewed, they were streamed, they were tested, they had so many things, so many obstacles they had to overcome even to be a part of this that made them viable choices for me to cut out.”

Baggs said by doing the show he didn’t experience some of the dating woes people run into in traditional dating situations.

“I didn’t have to worry about, ‘OK, she is a gold digger’ or ‘this woman is just looking for the best deal.’ And even if she was, then I would be able to explore that further myself and make an intelligent assessment of what I was dealing with, if you know what I’m saying. So I think that’s what made it a lot easier for me to choose the type of woman to be with,” he said.

He also said he is looking for more than a physical connection.

“There is a difference between a physical connection and a metaphysical connection, for me. I need both of those in order to move forward in that regard.”

NFL fans remember Baggs from his pro football career. In 2004, he joined the Detroit Lions as a free agent. He spent some time with the Arizona Cardinals, the Baltimore Ravens and the Calgary Stampeders. He played for 11 professional teams in 10 years. He describes his professional football career as rewarding. He describes leaving the field as challenging.

“Make no mistake about it. It was difficult and to do something for your entire life and then it could be taken away from you, especially in my case. I played football since the age of 7, so 7 to 32. I was playing pro football and then it’s taken away from you and especially in my case I was a journeyman. I didn’t leave the game the way I wanted to,” Baggs said.

“I won the same award, coming out of college as Jerry Rice, Walter Payton, Michael Strahan, just to name a few. I was black college player of the year and so I thought I was going to make a ton of money.”

Baggs graduated in 2005 with a degree in international business from Bethune-Cookman University. He was a three-time All-American linebacker.

But the transition from the NFL into the business world was not hard for Baggs because he started working on his postcareer goals while he was still playing.

“I was in the community always giving back, always networking, always making a connection with people that did things around my heartstrings, things that pulled at my heart. And so, especially young people and especially business, I have always been attracted to business and the way business works. Not from the perspective of just making money, but more so from the perspective of core values and how my true network and net worth, all that good stuff, but I think it really means a lot to transition before you leave the game,” Baggs said.

Baggs has experienced setbacks but he said he is undefeated in life and in his quest for love.

“I failed many, many times in my life,” he said. “But I think the thing that makes me undefeated is that I never give up. Now, I call myself ‘Dr. Never Give Up’ because of that very premise, that when you fail, that’s one thing, but when you just quit I think that’s when you become defeated, and I think you being undefeated doesn’t mean that you don’t fail or don’t fall. It means that you never give up. So that’s one of the things I would say to that point.”

Baggs said he tries to encourage and inspire youthful and professional athletes to start leveraging their business acumen and nonprofit endeavors on the field to establish and solidify their future identity.

According to Baggs’ website, his book Greater than the Game is written to help guide readers to self-discovery by challenging them to examine how they can elevate their personal game. In the book, Baggs details how his experiences on the field prepared him for his purpose beyond the stadium.

On paper, Baggs is a quality catch for any single woman. He is the owner of the Dream Café in Atlanta, where he lives. He also founded Shakespeare Enterprises, and a health and wellness nonprofit called CETA, with his mother, Lola Robinson, who also stars in the show.

With maintaining a business and discovering the needs of youth in the community, Baggs keeps busy. He said his ideal woman would understand that the work he does in the community is critically important to him.

The star also relies heavily on his faith.

“Faith is extremely important, but faith is the foundation. To me, faith means the foundation abiding in truth high up and that is an acronym that I talk about. What is your foundation? It’s one thing to have a foundation and a tradition, but it’s another thing to transcend and have an interpersonal truth with the Creator, as opposed to what someone gave you,” Baggs said.

You can watch Baggs’ quest to find love on Match Made In Heaven on Thursdays at 10PM ET/PT on WE tv.

“I want the viewers to know that black men can love. I want people to know that there are pro athletes that have balance, that have diversity beyond just playing a game of football. And more importantly, I want people to know from this show they will be able to see that there is a difference between being on a paper chase and a purpose chase and I think that when you chase purpose that’s something that’s everlasting and being willing to chase paper it’s kind of like, it’s something that’s fleeting.”

Kelley Evans is a digital producer at Andscape. She is a food passionista, helicopter mom and an unapologetic Southerner who spends every night with the cast of The Young and the Restless by way of her couch.