Sat May 5, 2012
Former NFL Player's Open Letter to Top Draft Picks
Originally published on Sat May 5, 2012 4:42 pm
Former Denver Bronco's tight end Nate Jackson posted an open letter on Buzzfeed.com this week to Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, the NFL's top two draft picks this year.
It begins, "You have been mentioned in the same breath for the last several months. But once you get drafted and shake hands with Darth Vader, your lives will diverge and you will be immersed fully in the identity of your new employers."
The story doesn't get much better, Jackson continues.
"Whether leading your teams to triumph or failing miserably, every breath will be a public affair," he wrote. "For better or worse, your privacy is gone."
Jackson tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz that he loves the game of football, but has a problem with the commercialization of the NFL. When he was playing, he felt like he couldn't voice his opinion, but he now, he admits, he doesn't like the direction that it's going.
"Your new neighbors will be rich as well, facelifted, lipo-sucked, Xanaxed and dripping in diamonds," he warns, and the players won't be able to relate.
It's not the fate of every NFL draft pick, Jackson says, but it does happen a lot to first-round picks. It's a lot of pressure for these young kids, especially quarterbacks like Luck and Griffin, who often get singled out for star status. That's not how they'll be treated on the field.
"It's not as exciting or sexy to say, these are 53 guys that make up this team; they win or lose together," Jackson says.