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Former Baltimore Raven now deputy in Hillsborough County

Deputy Marcus Applefield traded in his pads for the badge
Football player turned deputy
Posted at 11:55 AM, Oct 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-25 09:38:04-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Marcus Applefield used to protect his quarterback as an offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens. Now, he’s protecting the citizens of Hillsborough County as a deputy.

After a career-ending injury prevented him from playing football ever again, he found his new passion in law enforcement.

“Just civilians in the community, sometimes they will come up to me, ‘there is absolutely no way you didn’t play football,’” Deputy Applefield said.

Applefield is 6’5” and weighs 300 pounds. He was a standout lineman from Weeki Wachee High School and is still the only player from his school to earn a Division-I college football scholarship.

“Mermaids and offensive linemen are what Weeki Wachee is known for,” he said. “I hope it stays that way forever. Mostly the mermaids.”

He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Rutgers University, then transferred to the University of Virginia to get his Master’s Degree in Psychology. He later signed an undrafted free-agent contract with the Ravens.

But his dream job lasted about two years before suffering a back injury.

“Getting injured, I got put on (Injured Reserve). I had to make that decision after not getting cleared by a doctor a certain amount of times if football was to be continued for me,” Applefield said.

He initially wanted to be a lawyer but didn’t want a desk job.

“I knew the next best thing for me was to be on the road, in the streets, and helping the community in that way,” he said.

Last year, he made the transition from player to patrol deputy.

“I love it here with the Sheriff’s office," Applefield said. "The great family value here. I got accepted. At the time when I came in, there was a battle between athletes, especially NFL, and cops. NFL players were taking knees, I was taking a knee personally. I got accepted pretty quickly."

Whether he’s helping his co-workers with their fantasy football teams...

“They're asking me the inside scoop of football, especially when it comes to fantasy time. They’re asking me to call guys, text guys, whatever it may be,” he said.

Or working with youth, Deputy Applefield wants to help and keep the public safe.

“Just because the name was on my jersey, now it’s just right on the front next to a badge; it’s kind of the same thing.”