Not many pro football players go on to earn Ph.D. degrees and wind up as college professors. So when one does, as Robert W. Turner II has, what they have to say about their sport is naturally intriguing. In Turner’s case, he is keenly interested in why so many players struggle with life after football. Obviously he’s made a successful transition himself, but by reflecting on his experiences playing in the United States Football League, the Canadian Football League, and briefly in the National Football League, he’s able to share insights into a pro football culture that lends itself to short careers, little job security, and few marketable skills for the next stage in their lives.
Here’s an excerpt from Not for Long:
“My own tenure in the Big Show was relatively brief. When the general manager of the San Francisco 49ers called me into his office, it was an abrupt dismissal. He said, as if it was normal, everyday conversation for him, ‘We will give you a one-way airplane ticket anywhere. So where do you want to go?’“A lifetime of dreams, of preparations, routines, discipline, and work came crashing down around me, and I had no answer for his question.Where did I want to go? I didn’t know. What was I going to do? I didn’t know. How could I carry on? I didn’t know. How would I make money? I didn’t know. How would I face my friends and family as a failure? I couldn’t.”