Skip to content

“Magic can happen anytime. You just have to be waiting for it.”

Those were the words of Jon Dorenbos, who addressed the ACEC General Session this afternoon. Dorenbos has worn many hats in his 42 years: Philadelphia Eagle. Two-time Pro Bowl selectee. Super Bowl winner. Today, he is best known for his thrilling and award-winning magic show, during which he combines dazzling sleight-of-hand card tricks told against a poignant and riveting tale of survival, perseverance and, ultimately, hard-won peace and forgiveness.

Using his trusty deck of cards as a metaphor for life, Dorenbos told Convention attendees how a former NFL star came to be a motivational speaker and magician. His story began in Seattle, Washington, where young Dorenbos and his sister grew up. Dorenbos’s story is one of a happy and unremarkable childhood shattered when his father murdered his mother. Dorenbos was 12 years old, effectively becoming an orphan.

With his father incarcerated, Dorenbos and his sister would spend a year in foster care before moving to Southern California with his aunt. It was there that what would become Dorenbos’ two worlds – football and magic – would collide. A chance encounter with magician Bill Malone and a spot on the Golden West Junior College football team would change the trajectory of Dorenbos’ life and set him on a path to healing. As he told ACEC attendees: “You write your own script how your life is going to be. The words we tell ourselves determine the life we live.”

After more than successful football career of more than a decade, another shock: four days after being drafted by the New Orleans Saints, a routine checkup revealed a latent and dangerous heart issue. Dorenbos was rushed to surgery. Although the procedure was successful, his football career was over. Thus began a new chapter in Dorenbos’ life: magician, talk show guest, Vegas standout, and motivational speaker.

Dorenbos closed today’s show with a couple of head-scratching card tricks, and one takeaway: “Life happens. Good, bad, and ugly. What separates people is how they handle it.”

Engineering Influence Podcast Ad

June 12, 2023



Scroll To Top