Nate Jackson's memoir Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival from the Bottom of the Pile is coming out next week. The tight end spent the 2002-3 season on the practice squad for the 49ers before going on to play for the Denver Broncos from 2003-2008. The New York Times has given it a rave review, and from the parts we have read, we think they are right.
And though we can't prove that he's been taking writing tips from punter Chris Kluwe (him of Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies fame), it sure seems like there's a new crop of football players who are passing around copies of John Gardner's The Art of Fiction in the locker room instead of steroids. (Well, maybe in addition to steroids.) Jackson can flat out write. Here are our favorite parts from his new book:
On playing football while being in pain: Pain isn’t rigid. It’s a choice, a weakness of the mind, a glitch in the system that can be overridden by stones and moxie. I find my switch and flip it. People often asked me how bad it hurt to get hit by those huge dudes. The truth is that it doesn’t hurt at all. The switch is on. I can’t feel a thing. My body is a machine and my emotions are dead.
On becoming a veteran player and a jack-off: I don’t realize it at the time, but the ability to relax and be an asshole between practices is a product of becoming a seasoned pro.
On the Dallas Cowboys' defensive line: The Cowboys’ defensive line is enormous and freaky strong. By now I know what I have to do to block a beast like that: crack him in his jaw with the crown of my helmet, then grab him tight and hold on.
On the potentiality of his being castrated, and the non-desirability of such: I came into the league thinking I was going to be a Pro Bowl wide receiver. Now here I am in a three-point stance lead blocking through the two-hole, about to get my dick ripped off.
On how a football arcing through the air towards you looks oddly fecal: Jay Cutler snaps the ball and I take off up the seam, bending in toward the middle of the field. I see Jay cock back and throw the ball in my direction. Now it is mine. I must catch it. Catch the brown rainbow.
On being sidelined while his team loses a game: I lie supine on a back corner training room table and watch a tide of poison molasses roll over our team.
On groupies and their attraction to pituitary glands: Women have emerged from the fog, pulled toward us by our oversized pituitaries and our cave man libidos, vibrating the floorboards like a Dr. Dre bass line.
On the Nietzschean element of football: Decide what you’re going to do and do it violently.
On the Nietzschean element of football, part two: I want blood. I want to taste the iron on my tongue as I rip the flesh from a safety’s bones and play Hacky Sack with his testicles.
On what not to say in a post-game press conference: Man, I really would like to go home and eat a heroin sandwich.
On football as a whole: The good/bad thing about football is that it moves too quickly for your conscientious objections to keep pace.