On the first week of NFL exhibition games, the first time Josh Sitton wasn't involved in pro football in 12 years, curiosity got the best of him.He flicked on the Green Bay Packers preseason game, the team he spent eight decorated seasons protecting future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers,
On the first week of NFL exhibition games, the first time Josh Sitton wasn't involved in pro football in 12 years, curiosity got the best of him.
He flicked on the Green Bay Packers preseason game, the team he spent eight decorated seasons protecting future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers, while never missing a game and rarely an offensive line snap, even when playing hurt.
He just wanted to check out the Packers preseason game against the Houston Texans.
"I had it on for about a minute," Sitton said, laughing. "And I didn't know anybody on the field. That's when I figured I'm getting old.
"I really didn't even know (first week) preseason was going on. We've been so busy. And that was kinda the plan, to stay busy."
Sitton turned 33 in June. His 11-year career in the NFL, which includes a Super Bowl win with the Packers, four Pro-Bowl trips, three times an All-Pro and well-earned reputation as one of the best offensive guards in the NFL, is now in his rear-view mirror.
These days, Sitton is back home in Pensacola, the place he grew up and loves so much, where he and wife, Kristen, are busy with their children, daughter Larue, and their infant son, who was born in April when Sitton announced his NFL retirement.
He drives to work each day to his new office, Bear General Contractors, a construction company he co-owns on North Palafox Street.
Along with business partner Chris Jaubert, a former Pensacola Catholic High football teammate and best friend since youth, they are putting the finishing touches on a renovated building, while involved in a half-dozen, building projects, so far, in the Pensacola community.
Jaubert is the president and chief operating officer. Sitton is owner and director of business development.
A new career is thriving. A new life is being enjoyed. A new competitive drive is fueled.
"I am just trying to be great at anything I do," said Sitton, who went from Catholic, to the University of Central Florida, into being a fourth-round draft pick in 2008 by the Packers, all the way to being on the field and in the starting lineup for Super Bowl XLV in 2011 for Green Bay's 31-25 victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"I don't like losing," said Sitton, while sitting in a renovated meeting room at the company office. "No matter what I do, I try to be great at it. That is what drives me. I have an internal pride that just drives me.
"I don't care if I'm playing my wife on a board game, trying to run a business, or playing football all those years, I'm trying to be the best."
Sitton and Jaubert have 14 employees. Kristen Sitton also is part of the business management team.
When Bear Construction began work on creating a lavish, upstairs, bridal suite at 5 Eleven Palafox -- a Studer Family of Companies entity and once the site of iconic bar Trader Jon's -- his wife helped ensure it was built for brides and bridesmaids to have a special place.
"We spend every day talking about our business," Kristen said. "He's a great father. He spends every day taking care of our daughter, while I attend to our son. We make a good team at home.
"Some friends tell me, 'Oh I could never work with my husband. He would drive me nuts.' But we make a good team. We're together all day long."
The Sittons were married in 2016. During the past few seasons, the 6-for-3, 318 pound Sitton battled injuries, played through pain. Sitton missed three games in both seasons (2016-17) he played with the Chicago Bears.
He was signed in March 2018 to a lucrative free agent contract by the Miami Dolphins. But after a strong preseason, he was injured in the first half of the Dolphins' season-opener last season. He tore the rotator cuff in his left shoulder, requiring major surgery and wiping out the season.
It happened in the first half, but Sitton gritted and grinded through. Unfortunately, that became his last NFL game. Of 148 career NFL games, Sitton started in 138.
Most noteworthy, aside from being a Super Bowl champion and multiple All-Pro offensive guard selection, is Sitton's seven-year streak with Green Bay of never missing a game.
"We want to congratulate Josh on a terrific career, one that will be remembered for his consistency, durability and leadership," said Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst in a statement when Sitton announced his retirement. "He contributed to a lot of great moments and big wins during his eight seasons in Green Bay and was recognized for his play by being named All-Pro three times, along with three Pro Bowl selections in his time with the Packers.
"We wish him, his wife, Kristen and their family the very best in the years ahead."
Sitton knew the ride would eventually end. He and his wife planned for it and knew they would settle in Pensacola.
"I don't think I have seen him this happy," Kristen Sitton said. "As much as I know he loved football and it has always meant so much to him, it's great having him home.
"For me, the biggest thing is not seeing him look so uncomfortable and not complain so much about his health. To not have him out there damaging his body is number one for me."
While in high school together, Sitton and Jaubert worked construction jobs during the summers to help earn some money as teenagers. Jaubert didn't play college football. He earned his degree at LSU and immediately began in the business.
"He was in Lafayette (La.) at the time, going into business, and he said he was going to take on five partners," Sitton said. "I said, 'Dude, you don't need to take on five partners. Why don't we do it together and it can be a partnership we feel good about instead of having five guys telling you what to do.'
"He and I see eye to eye on most things and we have always had a very good connection, so we knew it would be a good partnernship."
Sitton's eye on a construction business future began when having a meeting with Blue Wahoos owner Quint Studer on how to shape his future.
Sitton and his wife are co-investors in the Southtowne complex. Their company built the Bodacious Bookstore and Café in Southtowne. They are also working on a $6 million apartment complex downtown. They consider Studer and his wife, Rishy, friends and mentors.
"They were honoring me one year at a Blue Wahoos game and I said I wanted to talk to Quint," Sitton said. "I love picking people's brains who are way smarter than myself. And Quint is one of those people. Our relationship grew from there."
During his career, Sitton and his wife experienced issues with contractors working or repairing homes they purchased. They dealt with unscrupulous companies and lost money in repairs.
"We've been (unfairly treated) by contractors and I wanted to start a company that could change that mindset," Sitton said. "Chris and I are very loyal, honest people and we want to run our company that way.
"We are a very open book and do things the right way. It all started from that (bad experience)."
Kristen Sitton has seen Josh fully focused on his new career.
"We took on a lot over the last few years, but it was always for this moment now… to have this transition," she said. "He hasn't thought twice about missing football. We've been so busy here (Bear Construction) and I'm very proud of him."