From 3D scanning to robotic ice cream to acting, ex-Dolphin Nolan Carroll enjoying life after football

From 3D scanning to robotic ice cream to acting, ex-Dolphin Nolan Carroll enjoying life after football

By DAVID FURONES
| SOUTH FLORIDA SUN SENTINEL |
MAY 31, 2019 | 12:51 PM
| MIAMI BEACH

Retired NFL and Miami Dolphins CB Nolan Carroll’s Doob 3D Miami shop takes images of people and converts them into 3D figurines.
Nolan Carroll, who spent four seasons with the Miami Dolphins, was sitting at home one morning about a month after getting released from the Dallas Cowboys in 2017, when he asked himself a question that inevitably hits many professional athletes: “What’s next?”

“I have the money to kind of just relax if I want to, but that’s not what I really wanted to do,” said Carroll, a fifth-round draft choice by the Dolphins in 2010. “I still have some type of purpose to make myself feel like I’m doing something. I just don’t want to sit around all day, not have a schedule, not do anything at all. I need to find something that’ll pique my interest, and it just so happened that it’s business.”

Sometimes for NFL players, adjusting to life after football can be as much a challenge as it was reaching that pinnacle. Carroll has had no such trouble.

During the past year, the eight-year NFL veteran cornerback delved into multiple business ventures, most notably opening a 3D scanning store, Doob 3D Miami.

Carroll was still in the mindset of staying in football shape with the hopes of continuing his NFL career, when he stumbled upon his first business opportunity by simply looking for a gift for his sister ahead of her wedding.

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Doob, which began in Germany several years ago and expanded into the United States, starting in New York, essentially transforms 2D images of people into 3D figurines of various sizes. It fit what Carroll was trying to find for his sister, a life-like memento for her wedding.

Getting in contact with Doob and CEO Mike Anderson, he found that the company needed his sister and fiancé to travel to New York to take a picture inside a machine equipped with 66 cameras, called the Dooblicator. Those images would get transformed into a 3D figure made of polymer resin. Carroll’s mother, Jennifer Carroll, asked if they planned on opening a store in Florida, and Anderson said they had given thought to further expansion down south.

“So Mom blurted out, ‘Well, we would love to do it,’” Carroll recalls. “I’m like, ‘Mom, what? Maybe you can, but not me right now.’ My mindset at the time wasn’t really in business. I was more so in staying in shape, still kind of in football mode. My mind wasn’t on owning a business.”

From February 2018 through about the end of April, Carroll contemplated it. He eventually visited the New York store, got one done of himself and checked out the operation.

“Let me just go ahead and dive into the business world a little bit and see how that goes,” said Carroll, who opened his South Beach location in October after getting trained on how to operate the technology and hiring a store manager. “It’s just that process of trying to get everything set up, finding a location, all these different things was a tedious part. Now that we’re set up, we’re good to go, I don’t really have any worries anymore about my role, my life in the business world.”For Carroll, who had three of his eight career interceptions with the Dolphins in 2013, accepting his new identity after football was a key to excelling in business.

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“Being a football player for so long, that’s all you really know, so what it’s taken from you is one of those things where you become lost [after football],” said Carroll, a Maryland alum who has lived in Plantation through stints with the Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles after his Dolphins days. “I would just say, ‘Don’t be scared of that feeling. Embrace that feeling.’”

Avoiding complacency after his football career was also instrumental.

“I was just going to relax and try to enjoy life a little bit and just wherever it took me, it took me,” Carroll said. “And kind of falling in that trap is dangerous too because you end up not wanting to do anything, and when you finally think, ‘I need to do something,’ the rest of the world has kind of gone by and you’re playing catch-up.”

Another piece of advice Carroll has for retired athletes trying to find their way in their next stage of life: Do your research and don’t jump on the first thing that sounds appealing.

“A lot of guys, when you hear about them having bad business deals or having bad investments, it’s because it’s been that initial, ‘Oh, I want to do it because it sounds good’ without doing their homework, and they just dive into it,” Carroll said. “That’s why you see guys that they get into certain franchises and it fails because they don’t understand the process of how to do it. They just think it’s easy, something that’s, ‘Oh, I own a business now, somebody else will run it for me.’ That’s not necessarily how it is.”

Beyond Doob, Carroll has an app called YooTroo that connects businesses with potential consumers by paying them to watch their ads. The companies invest a fraction of what they would with traditional advertising to get on the app, and customers receive some of that money for watching. It was an idea he carried on from a business partner, John Paul, who started it but left it idle before Carroll reached out to him looking for a way to more easily promote Doob than the fliers and coupons he started out with.

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Carroll is also looking to get a Print Mates kiosk in his Doob shop. Print Mates allows people to easily print out pictures from their phone, and the thought is it would complement the 3D figures to also have customers be able to customize, design and print their own photos in the store.

Carroll plans on opening three robotic ice cream kiosks, which automatically puts all the toppings you want on your ice cream or frozen yogurt with the push of a button. He’s working to put one in Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville, another in the Museum of Science and History in Jacksonville and one at University of North Florida.

On top of all that, Carroll has embarked on an acting career.

“It’s like football,” he said. “You just memorize your lines, tweak things here and there. You just go in.”

Carroll has been reading scripts for a show called “The Collective” for a year. Without any training, he has filmed three times for it and says he has improved each time. He said they will begin filming in earnest soon.

The show is based in New York, where each of the five boroughs has a don that controls that borough — he’s the don of Brooklyn — and has their own special power. He says it gets intense with the plot twists and different characters devising plans to take over each other’s property and described it as “Supernatural meets Game of Thrones.”

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Carroll also has his foundation, which seeks to promote math, science, job-skill training and physical activities for underprivileged youths.

“In between trying to be a dad, as well, that’s all I have going on,” he says humbly.

For Carroll, lessons he learned playing football have transcended beyond the gridiron and into his current endeavors.

“In a sense, we’re our own business,” he said. “I don’t think a lot of football players understand that. I think they’re starting to now, but we make investments every single day. We invest in ourselves to become successful.”