🎙TFG Pod: The Fascinating NFL Afterlife of D’Brickashaw Ferguson
From the The Football Girl Podcast, hosted by Melissa Jacobs. Subscribe to get new episodes of the pod in your feed the second we publish – and if you like what you hear, please rate and/or review us!
When former Jets left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson retired two years ago at age 32 in the midst of a storied, injury-free career, the news was stunning for many. Was it because the Jets wanted him to take a pay cut? Or perhaps it was because Ferguson felt a ‘little betrayed’ after seeing the movie Concussion? Ferguson clears the air in this wide-ranging conversation.
He also speaks honestly about the unique transition from professional athlete to regular human, and his process of self-discovery. As a player, Ferguson prided himself on being quiet and non-controversial. Here, he talks about his evolved mindset, the unique platform given to athletes, and the types of conversations he hopes to start with his new experiential blog, The Perspective. Plus, Ferguson discusses his current health, his feelings about the trajectory of football and much more!
Also in this episode, Melissa reflects on the life and impact of Dwight Clark, plus breaks down all the antiqued elements of the 1982 NFC Championship. (A time out with :58 seconds left – what was Bill Walsh thinking???)
4:26: Melissa remembers the greatness of Dwight Clark
8:30: Melissa on the anachronisms of the 1982 NFC Championship
13:30: D’BRICKASHAW FERGUSON JOINS
13:53: Why he retired in 2016
17:13: Whether CTE and seeing Concussionfactored into his decision
19:22: Examining his post-NFL options and why he chose finance
22:48: On the mental transition from professional athlete to regular human
27:01: The varying layers of NFL players deciding to retire
30:53: On why he’s starting a new blog called The Perspective about his experiences
34:15: Why he was non-controversial as a player and why he’s done being quiet
37:30: The emotions of writing
39:15: How much football he watches
43:35: On the only surgery he’s ever had. He was 9.
48:14: Does he agree with Melissa’s notion that LT is the second-most important position in football
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Ferguson on the unique difficulty of exiting the NFL:
You want to continue doing the things that you’re successful at. And starting over, that’s not easy even if you have a plan. I left on my own terms and it was still challenging. I can only think of the guys that leave and don’t have a choice, that get injured, that can’t play the game for any number of reasons. This is a really hard thing to get over.
There’s such a small population who plays this and it’s like you’ve figured out the secret on how to do it and then you have to stop doing that and go into a different direction.
Ferguson on adjusting to life past the NFL:
It took longer to adjust than I thought it might have. You’re so used to being in a certain routine – to knowing what to eat to get results, knowing how to workout to get results, and knowing what time you need to be in certain places. Everything is so defined for you.
When you leave that environment you have to decide how you want to work out, how you want to eat. There is no metricsor measurable that is going to say, ‘ok if I do this than it will give me this result that will help me on Sunday.’ It’s more fluid than that.
Ferguson on why he wants to be a writer:
I feel like there is so much power in the pen. I look at people like Ta-Nehisi Coates and how they write, how they can use words to move feelings and emotions. And I’m like, ‘man, I aspire to be an individual who can really process thoughts on paper.’