Sam Acho is an author, a public speaker, a humanitarian, an in-studio analyst for ESPN, a nine-year NFL veteran and a committed Christian. He’s also currently an ambassador for the International Justice Mission.
Sam played college football at the University of Texas at Austin, where he received the William V. Campbell Trophy for being college football’s top scholar-athlete. He won the NCAA Top VIII Award, which recognizes the top eight student-athletes in all of sports, and was named the 2010 Big 12 Sportsperson of the Year. In 2011, Sam was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals and played four seasons as a linebacker with the team. He then signed with the Chicago Bears for the 2015–2016 season and played four years there before spending the 2019 season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In 2016 and 2017, Sam was the Bears’ nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, the league’s only award that recognizes both civic and professional contributions. Sam served on the leadership committee for both the Cardinals and the Bears. He is also the vice president of the NFL Players Association, an organization in which he has served since his second year in the NFL.
Having grown up in Dallas with parents who emphasized scholastic achievement,Sam was named by Sporting News as one of the twenty smartest athletes in all of sports. He received his MBA in 2015 at Thunderbird School of Global Management, the #1 ranked international MBA program in the world.
Sam is the founder and president of Athletes for Justice, an organization that works to unite professional athletes and everyday athletes to fight injustices around the world. He has been featured in Super Bowl commercials highlighting his social justice efforts in the city of Chicago.
Sam’s first book, Let the World See You: How to Be Real in a World Full of Fakes, was released in October 2020. In it he shares lessons from his own life as well as stories from others to reveal how you can overcome your fears and discover your true selves.