An Ex-NFLer Speaks Out About Player Safety, And Fans’ Problematic Relationship With The ‘Bloodsport’

Managing Editor, Sports + DIME

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The world of fantasy football is about instant gratification. One week an NFL player can be a hero to millions of doting diehards. The next he’s a bum, not even worth rostering in a fake league. Fantasy fame is fleeting, but the impact of playing the game on each and every person in the league isn’t.

All 53 guys — not counting practice squad representatives — are still giving their all for the entire season, trying to help their team win and keep their bodies in tact in the process. Former NFL tight end Nate Jackson stood at the nexus of this dichotomy when he sat down to write his second book, Fantasy Man, which comes out on Sept. 20.

Jackson, who got a little notoriety from his first book, Slow Getting Up, has been a staple on the lecture and trade show circuit, primarily for his thoughts on the potential benefits of cannabis use for pain management and recovery. He’s also become an obsessive fantasy football player in his free time. And he grapples with that world and the actual world of the NFL, while taking brief segues to examine the real world outside of football (real and fantasy) in the book.

Fantasy Man traces Jackson’s life over the course of the 2015 season, which saw his former team — the Denver Broncos — win the Super Bowl. Jackson travels from his destination draft, to his high school in San Jose, to Menlo College, to a cannabis conference in Arizona, to Denver, to his part-time home in Venice, California, and to the Super Bowl in San Francisco. He writes about life after football and the strange contrast between fantasy glory and day-to-day life in the NFL.

UPROXX Sports had a long conversation with Jackson on his book, that nation’s fascination with fantasy football, the league’s treatment of NFL players in general, and more.

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