ATLANTA - In 2016, Sherrod Martin was an NFL free agent, who started his day in a typical NFL free agent way. He'd wake up early and work out, thinking about the chance to get back in the league. After that, however, was something a little different: he'd spend the rest of the day behind a barber's chair.
"I could've played again," said Martin. "It's better when you have other things in motion. You don't have to have a 'Plan B,' you just have to have a plan."
The Griffin High School alum spent 6 seasons in the NFL as a safety. FOX 5 profiled Martin in 2016 when he was working at a barbershop and becoming a master barber. It had been a longtime hobby, even a service he did for teammates in the league.
Since then, however, Martin made the call to hang up his cleats for good. That meant hanging onto the clippers full-time.
"[Being a barber] made [retiring from the NFL] easier because I knew what I wanted to do," said Martin. "It's something I've been doing since high school, I have a passion for it. When it came time for me to hang it up, I wasn't as down as I would've been. It was easier for me to take it in because I had something to take my mind off it."
Branding himself "Sherrod the Barber," Martin built a client-base, and his ambitions. Within the next year and a half, "Sherrod the Barber" became "Sherrod the Businessman." In March of 2018, he opened Superb Grooming, a barbershop in Doraville.
"It's been a learning experience. Whatever you think the budget is to open a business, triple it!" said Martin.
He works with three other barbers he knew from barber school. He still cuts hair -- plenty of current and former football players are clients -- but his responsibilities have grown. Martin is the owner, so he deals with city permits, with the shop's decor, the payment system and everything else that comes up. Amid that, Martin is still working to perfect his new craft.
"He'll text me, 'hey man, how was the haircut? Did mom like it?'" said Mark Weivoda, a former pro football player who brings his kids to get haircuts at Superb Grooming. "As football players, after our games we get graded. We're told, 'on this play, you did this.' He takes those same things that made him a great football player and make him a great barber."
The 33-year-old gives his family credit for pushing him to take the big step of starting his own business. As for what's next, Martin says the only certainty is more hard work.
"We're growing," said Martin. "We're growing, to be continued."
Martin says walk-ins and appointments are welcome at Superb Grooming. He says anyone who hears about his shop from this story is eligible for a discount by mentioning FOX 5. You can get more information at the barbershop's website, http://www.superbgrooming.com/