The NFL is the most popular professional sports league in the United States. Its athletes receive multimillion-dollar contracts and almost endless media attention. The league's most important game, the Super Bowl, is practically a national holiday. Making it to the NFL, however, is not about the promised land of fame and fortune. Robert W. Turner II draws on his personal experience as a former professional football player as well as interviews with more than 140 current and former NFL players to reveal what it means to be an athlete in the NFL and explain why so many players struggle with life after football.
Without guaranteed contracts, the majority of players are forced
out of the league after a few seasons. Over three-quarters of
retirees experience bankruptcy or financial ruin, two-thirds live
with chronic pain, and too many find themselves on the wrong side
of the law. Robert W. Turner II argues that the fall from grace of
so many players is no accident. The NFL, he contends, powerfully
determines their experiences in and out of the league. The labor
agreement provides little job security and few health and
retirement benefits, and the owners refuse to share power with the
players, making change difficult. And the process of becoming an
elite football player--from high school to college and through the
pros--leaves athletes with few marketable skills and little
preparation for their first Sunday off the field.
With compassion and objectivity, Not for Long reveals the
life and mind of high school, college, and NFL athletes, shedding
light on what might best help players transition successfully out
of the sport.