Former Oregon star edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux, one of the top prospects heading into next month’s NFL Draft, unveiled his new trading card and silver round at The MINT Collective in Las Vegas over the weekend, an opportunity he hopes will showcase him as both "a business mogul and as a football player."
Thibodeaux, 21, spoke to FOX Business about his latest partnership with eBay and the significance of his latest release.
"eBay was the first company I did my first NIL deal with which first started off as an NFT and then I made it a collector's item … that was signed by me and Tinker Hatfield," Thibodeaux said.
He landed his first name, image and likeness (NIL) deal over the summer, which was a nonfungible token (NFT) designed by Hatfield, a University of Oregon alum who is known for designing some of Nike’s most popular shoe models.
"Having that foundation and that base with the NIL kind of brought forth this MINT and trading card deal," Thibodeaux said of his latest release, which was designed and illustrated by renowned artist Sophia Chang.
"It basically emphasizes me as a business mogul and as a football player and how I’ve been able to project myself in booth spaces, moving forward into my career."
Thibodeaux told FOX Business that while he was never into trading cards growing up, he did have some notable sports memorabilia items, including a basketball signed by NBA players Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
The former Ducks standout also said he’s received some signed memorabilia from fellow Oregon athletes-turned NFL pros like Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert and Detroit Lions offensive tackle Penei Sewell.
Thibodeaux has earned a number of Pac-12 Conference and national accolades, including 2019 Defensive Freshman of the Year, and was awarded the Morris Trophy in 2020. He is anticipated to go in the first round of the NFL Draft, which takes place from April 28-30 in Las Vegas.
"From the development on the field to the development off the field, I think it's given me the tools to use going into the NFL," Thibodeaux told FOX Business of his time with the Ducks.
When asked if his participation in the Rose Bowl and most recently the Fiesta Bowl were good indicators of how playing in the NFL might be, Thibodeaux said he knows that the NFL is undoubtedly going to be a new challenge.
"I would say the NFL is a league of its own. You know, the big college games are great games, and there is a lot of talent on the field, but I feel like there is just a different mindset, and there’s a different type of attention that goes into NFL games."