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Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival from the Bottom of the Pile Hardcover – September 17, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Nate Jackson played six seasons for the NFL Denver Broncos. He was, at various times, an extra wide receiver, a third-string tight end, and a special-teams regular. He didn’t get a contract that will support multiple generations of heirs; failed to assemble an adoring, self-interested posse; never signed an endorsement deal. But he lived his dream for six years, never quite sure if he’d survive the next cut—until he didn’t. Somewhere along the way he learned to write, not just link words together to form a coherent narrative, which would be more than enough for most sports bios, but really write. There is a bit of the artist in Nate Jackson. For anyone who wants to experience the NFL player experience, this is the book to read. The highs are here: scoring touchdowns (well, only a couple); moving from the practice squad to the game-day roster; those years (well, only a couple) when you felt kinda, sorta secure; and experiencing the camaraderie with teammates, a bittersweet pleasure given the uncertainty of who will be around tomorrow. Then there are the lows, led, of course, by injuries—lord, the injuries—the rehab, the pain, and the realization that one’s body has been completely misaligned. And the tragedy that Jackson endured with the death of two teammates—young, seemingly invincible warriors. This is Jackson’s first book, but he’s honed his skills at Slate, Deadspin, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. Don’t miss this one; it could very well be the best book about pro football you will ever read. --Wes Lukowsky

Review

“That screaming you hear coming across the sky? It’s a wobbly spiral…Slow Getting Up is everything you want football memoirs to be but never are: hilarious, dirty, warm, human, honest, weird.” (Dwight Garner, New York Times)

“Excellent...busts through pro football’s prevailing mythology...Nate Jackson gives us the game warts and all, but never in a drag-ass, woe-is-me way. A really fine book. Man can write.” ( Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk )

“A tremendously authentic, inside-the-locker-room view is unveiled with Jackson’s myriad stories, clever wit, skillful prose and perfect dose of sophomoric humor.” (San Jose Mercury News)

“Simply the best book by a former player about life in the NFL that you will read. Maybe the best book period about life in the NFL that you will read.” ( Stefan Fatsis, author of A Few Seconds of Panic: A Sportswriter Plays in the NFL )

Slow Getting Up tells the whole truth about the NFL. Painfully honest and remarkably funny, it’s far and away the best ‘insider’ book about pro sports since Jim Bouton’s Ball Four.” (Scott Raab, author of The Whore of Akron)

“The book the world has been waiting for. “Ball Four” for the football world is here at last.” ( Tom Junod, via Twitter )

“Fantastic.” (Jonathan Mahler, Bloomberg)

“The best football memoir ever.” (Rolling Stone)

“Excellent.” (New Republic)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (September 17, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062108026
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062108029
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (685 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,975 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nate Jackson played six seasons in the National Football League as a wide receiver and a tight end. His writing has appeared in Deadspin, Slate, the Daily Beast, BuzzFeed, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. A native of San Jose, California, he now lives in Los Angeles. This is his first book.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 68 people found the following review helpful By P. Cook on September 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In 2000, the book "Kitchen Confidential" revealed one chef's thoughts on what it was like to be a chef. Not a celebrity chef featured on the Food Channel, but a working-class, sore-knees, burnt-fingers guy who lived life one plate at a time. It was a revealing, funny, profane look at the restaurant industry.

Nate Jackson spent six years in the NFL. He was not a star, but he was part of the team. He was a working-class, sore-knees, broken fingers guy who lived life one season at a time. With this book, Jackson has written a revealing, funny, profane look at the day-to-day life of an NFL player.

Talk about the NFL tends to focus on the stars - Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, etc. This book is a welcome reminder that there are 53 guys on each NFL team, and although not all of them are known by name, they endure training camp, take the routine abuse of regular season games and just do their jobs for their love of the game and our entertainment. Jackson chronicles the life of an NFL regular with no self-pity, amazing honesty and a wry sense of humor. If you love the NFL, you'll probably like this book.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Liebo on September 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is a good amount of well-written football books. There are also many football books penned by current and former players. Unfortunately, there has generally been little overlap between the two. NFL memoirs are often cash-outs after particularly improbable seasons or impending bankruptcy or financially-ruinous divorces. The player's voice is generally diluted by a co-author who invariably has a penchant for lame cliches and generic athlete platitudes. Thankfully, Slow Getting Up, Nate Jackson's reflections on his eight years on the fringes of the NFL, features quality prose and brings a fresh and insightful perspective to a rather stale format. It is one of the most entertaining football books released in the past few years and is a worthwhile read for football fans interested in learning more about the trials and tribulations facing professional football players.

After beginning with a 2008 hamstring injury that ultimately spelled the end of Jackson's career (physical maladies and the arduous rehabilitation associated with them will be a common theme throughout the piece) Slow Getting Up chronicles Jackson's improbable journey from Division III star at Menlo College to making an NFL roster and sticking around and contributing in the league for several years. Each chapter generally covers a season and the book moves at a fast clip and reads like a series of fleshed-out blog posts. He devotes early passages to outlining the draft process and his attempts to stick with the San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted free agent. Jackson is eventually traded to the Broncos during training camp in 2003 and he initially manages to stick on the practice squad before spending a few years as a backup tight end and special teamer with Denver.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By PeeKay on February 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you are like me, then you read a few of the 5 star reviews and then read the 1 or 2 star reviews to see what the comparisons are. In this case, after having read the 1-2 star reviews I have to say - those people are idiots. They complain that it isn't juicy enough on the party details. Or maybe there is some swearing (OMG!). Or maybe it doesn't deal enough with the inner workings of the NFL...

So here is the deal... It's about one guy. Nate Jackson, and what he went through. And it's honest. Nate doesn't try to pretend to know what it is like for other guys he just lays out what it was like for him. And yeah, he wasn't Shannon Sharpe - and that's the whole point. This is the story of a guy who actually played but was never celebrated. And it is an absolutely fascinating, honest, and engaging read of a man who dedicated his whole world to football.

For me, I came away with a better understanding of how difficult and competitive the NFL is. What it's like to break into the starting line and the rewards that come with. And more so, what a man will do to keep at that level.

Kudos Nate.
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35 of 44 people found the following review helpful By F. Fievet on September 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I grabbed the book on my Kindle on the 17th and read through it in two nights. Jackson writes in a bloggy style that makes for easy reading. To give you some context of the time in the NFL that Jackson writes about, he was there right in the middle of the Plummer/Cutler transition in Denver. He started in San Fran, went to Denver and then spent a camp with the Mangini led Browns.

The main takeaway is how Jackson absolutely humanizes the everyday player. You feel for him, even if he comes as a little douchey at times. He tells a backroom story of the NFL that focuses on the players' struggles through the mental/physical side of the game. The NFL definitely comes off as the No Fun League for players.

He doesn't spend much time, at all, talking about superstars. He does talk about Shannon Sharpe, Rod Smith, TO and Plummer a little. He was very high on Plummer, calling him an iconoclast. But most of the time the story focused on his experiences through scout team, NFL Europe, rehab in Birmingham, the NFL and then the UFL. While reading it, the physical brutality of the game and the immaturity of the players, to a lesser extent, really came through.

A couple of things that really stuck out, and some of these are obvious from excerpts released from the book.

Jackson had NO love of Mangini, he bashed him in the last little bit of the book and it's not pretty. You wonder, if you followed Welker's comments on Belichick, if Mangini picked it up from the Hoodie.

Jackson didn't believe that many players in the NFL use HGH. He never saw it being used and never heard talk of it. At the end of the book he tried it to get back into the NFL but got nowhere with it. Not what I expected to read at all.
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Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival from the Bottom of the Pile
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