From broken collarbones to the brutality of fantasy football: A conversation with former NFL TE Nate Jackson

November 29, 2020 | (Noah Frank)

WASHINGTON — Nate Jackson is a former NFL tight end whose first book about his self-described battered post-football body “Slow Getting Up” was a New York Times bestseller. His new book, “Fantasy Man,” describes his post-career interest in fantasy football through the eyes of an ex-player.

Jackson spoke with WTOP Digital Sports Editor Noah Frank and I about the fantasy industry, as well as his thoughts on daily fantasy sports (such as DraftKings and FanDuel) and whether they are good for the game. He also dives into some of the controversial practices the league and team doctors alike participate in on a weekly basis when treating players who have a laundry list of injuries like the ones Jackson suffered through.

An undrafted free agent in 2002, Nate Jackson’s NFL career began when he was signed by the San Francisco 49ers. Before Jackson ever even saw the field, he suffered a shoulder injury during training camp, leading to his release.

The 49ers re-signed Jackson at the end of the season, but he was traded to the Denver Broncos prior to the 2003 campaign. From there, Jackson was with Denver until 2008, where he suffered a litany of injuries, which he describes in detail in his first book.

Jackson was never a fantasy football superstar. In fact, here were his career highs, set in his final season with Broncos: 11 receptions, 84 yards, 1 touchdown. Those would be considered a solid single game performance for the likes of top tier tight ends such as Jordan Reed or Rob Gronkowski. Yet Jackson has taken the plunge into the world of fantasy football now that he has hung up the cleats for a few years, and he describes the hobby as “brutal” as well as “the best adrenaline rush ever.”

Listen to the full interview above.

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