ILR to the NFL

Tretter’s athletic career running strong
Joseph Carl "JC" Tretter Jr. '13
Monday, December 11, 2017

When the Cleveland Browns came calling earlier this year, Joseph Carl “JC” Tretter Jr. ’13 was familiar with what a free agent employment contract should look like.

He had, after all, graduated from the ILR School, where learning how to negotiate is an underpinning of every undergraduate’s academic experience.

Courses such as “The Economics of Collective Bargaining and Sports,” he said, prepared him to “dive into the collective bargaining agreements of professional sports leagues.”

“Because of the skills and knowledge that I gained during my time in ILR, I felt better prepared going into the free agency period,” which took place this spring as his four-year rookie contract with the Green Bay Packers expired.

As per National Football League rules, only his representative could talk with teams during the three days of the NFL “legal tampering period.”

When the new league year officially began March 9, the Browns were on the phone with an offer. Tretter took a red-eye flight from San Diego to Cleveland. By noon, he had signed a three-year contract.

He plays center. His role as leader for the offensive line is to “get everyone on the same page, read the defense, figure out what we’ll be doing, and relay that information to everyone on the line.”

Making those split-second judgments in a game setting requires extensive team and individual preparation.

On top of workouts and other team responsibilities at the Browns’ facilities from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, Tretter devotes an additional 10 to 15 hours a week to playbook study and film analysis of his opponents.

Tretter stays connected and supports ILR, particularly the High Road Fellows program. Growing up near Buffalo, he said his learning from organizations and giving back to the community was impactful.

“I became aware of issues affecting the community, learned what others were doing to help and how I could also make a difference,” he said.

On NFL fields across the country, watch for Tretter, who not so long ago was in Ives Hall wrangling with a labor-management plant closing scenario and learning how to give, take, assess and segue — essential workplace skills, especially for football players.