Jonathan Goff accomplished a lot in his football career, but the former Vanderbilt linebacker had to work for it all.

Goff — who spent five seasons in the NFL and is still a free agent — has a stellar resume. Super Bowl champion. Two-time All-Southeastern Conference.

Goff grew up to a single mother in Stoneham, Mass., a suburb of Boston, with his older brother, Jason. His father left his family at an early age, however, Goff told the New York Post in a 2011 interview he wouldn’t change a thing and called his mother his role model.

“Just because of who she is, the kind of character she has,” Goff told the Post. “She was an attorney, then became a judge in ’95. And she never skipped a beat, whether it was getting things taken care of with her old career, and then getting things taken care of as far as my brother and I.”

Goff said he doesn’t regret his strained relationship with his father. But he didn’t shy away from acknowledging how tough life was for him early.

“That was probably one of the more adverse times in my life, because there was that, and then my grandmother who my brother and I were very close to — we spent every day after school with her, she’d pick us up, then she’d cook for us — she had passed. And then we moved from [Chelsea] to a new town [Stoneham], and basically had to start our whole social lives all over again.”

Attending St. John’s Prep School, Goff found refuge in sports. Early in life, he swam and played tennis and soccer. In the eighth grade, Goff began playing football for the Wakefield Warriors and a running back and defensive end.

As Goff grew up, and ended up on scholarship in the SEC at Vanderbilt University, he accomplished nearly every feat classmates said he wouldn’t.

“People were saying that I would never get time at quarterback in high school — that was coming from my own classmates — and I ended up being a starting quarterback. And then I got a scholarship to Vanderbilt, which is in the SEC. The guys were saying that I’d never succeed in the SEC … People said that I would never be more than maybe a special teamer if I’m lucky enough to make a squad.”

He did succeed, leading the Commodores in tackles as a junior and senior, earning second-team All-SEC honors both seasons.

The New York Giants selected Goff in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

After two successful seasons with the Giants in 2009 and 2010, a torn ACL sidelined Goff during New York’s run to the Super Bowl.

He signed with the Washington Redskins in 2012, but prior to the season, tore that same ACL  The Redskins waived Goff just two days later.

That’s when a decision he made while was with New York came into play.

Goff — who earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Vanderbilt — took an internship one offseason with Skanska, one of the companies charged with building MetLife Stadium. He shadowed the engineers in order to keep his Vanderbilt knowledge fresh.

“You can’t play football forever,” Goff told’s Jane McManus. “It’s just a fact of life. I guess you could call it a Plan B. I decided a long time ago that I didn’t want to be a coach or on television. I don’t want to be a television personality. It’s not my cup of tea.”

Goff, when he does decide to officially retire, will take a different path than most former players. But that’s been his life.

He played quarterback. He made a name for himself as a defensive standout at Vanderbilt and graduated with a degree.

He’s worked hard all along, something he learned from his mother.

Why start taking the easy path now?