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NFL players more than 'meat sacks' says former Bronco

Nate Jackson faceplanting on the cover of his recent book. (HarperCollins)

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Nate Jackson is on the offensive, and this time he's not taking directions from a coach.

After a six-year career with the Denver Broncos, the former football player has released a stinging memoir: Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival from the Bottom of the Pile. The book offers an unvarnished take on his time as a "meat sack" in the NFL, and the warping effects the league can have on the minds and bodies of its players.

He speaks to Jian about how the culture of the locker room can make you an a--hole, why athletes need to understand the physical price they pay, and why he believes gifted players are invited to join the system, but not change it.


"Our bodies are coveted within the system. Our minds are not," he told Jian, comparing football players to obedient, unquestioning soldiers.

"It's a powerful game, and it grips the men who play it."

Jackson also weighs in on the NFL's recent controversies over concussions and bullying. Notably, he defends Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito  -- who was recently suspended over a bullying incident.

"It's a different world in there," he said, arguing that -- in context -- Incognito is not the "big bad wolf."

This interview is part of this season's conversation series: Q on Sports: Legends, Rebels and Recordbreakers. Please visit the #QonSports microsite to see new and archival interviews that offer the smart and surprising takes on why sports matter.

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