In 2013 Leon McKenzie's career path took another direction, this time utilising his fists like the Mckenzie's have done so for years inside a professional boxing ring.
This family are athletes, it's in the genes and it makes sense that Leon would, after growing up with boxing around him take to this sport as naturally as he took to a successful career in Premiership football.
After a public battle with bouts of depression, boxing has been an easier war to be won and it looks that this 38-year-old is on a winning streak. The English Title is now in his sight which is quite an achievement for an ex footballer with no amateur boxing pedigree.
"To be able to fight for the English Title at 38, three years into a sport that's not new to me but, is not a first career, is a big deal."
I photographed McKenzie's fight against John McCallum who severely underestimated him in October last year at London's York Hall. The two had a notably fiery face off leading up to the fight. Verbal shots were launched by the Scotsman who's aim was, intentionally below the belt.
Rather than weaken Leon's psyche it had a counter effect. Instead it showed the 38-year-old was too swift on his feet and too fast with his hands for McCallum. It was the undefeated Mckenzie who retired the younger man convincingly in the sixth with emotional triumph.
His most recent fight in January was on the undercard of George Groves' battle with Andrea Di Luisa. The show was live on Sky Sports at London's Copper Box Arena. Leon took on Witshire's Kelvin Young in the final eliminator for the English title. It ended abruptly within the first round, blink and you missed. It was that kind of fight.
The man standing in his way of the belt is the current champ, Leicester's Jahmaine Smyle who has been scheduled to fight Sheffield's Liam Cameron. However, the fight has been called off on three occasions by Smyle who had failed to make negotiations with Cameron. Mckenzie therefore has had to be somewhat stoic. "Patience is a virtue, it's been hard but I have been ticking over, I am not someone that sits about, I keep active and stay positive."
Leon's manager, Steve Goodwin of Goodwin Promotions is trying to push for his mandatory spot for the English Title with Smyle and make the fight happen. The aim is September at London's O2 Arena where David Haye is in line to fight Shannon Briggs.
Clinton Mckenzie is both father and coach to Leon. Clinton himself, is a former British and European boxing champion. The two have an extremely tight relationship both inside and out of the ring. It does not end there, Duke Mckenzie was a three time world champion and Leon's uncle. To say he is in good hands is an understatement.
Unfortunately, a fight which was to be against Luke Blackledge for the Commonwealth title fell through due to politics where they thought Leon as the challenger did not have enough experience. Instead, they chose an opponent with more losses on his record than most. Leon looks forwards not backwards and is determined to deliver when the date is made for the English title.
"Day in day out I am used to fighting with more than the fight in the ring, I have good days and bad days but keep focused and productive," he continues " It has been difficult not fighting, the next fight could be a fight that is my last or one that opens up the doors."
Leon possesses confidence and self belief even despite his lows, his spirit fires up from within when the heat is on...undefeatable and is an inspiration for many. I heard it in his voice today and his achievements to date speak for itself. "I believe we are doing big things now, that we are at the levels now."