Unless you're a devoted fan of the Denver Broncos, you've probably never heard of
Nate also is my friend. We met when I joined the Broncos as a placekicker in training camp a few summers ago to write a book about the NFL. I've stayed at Nate's house in Denver (in a comfy guest room) and he's stayed at mine in Washington, D.C. (on an air mattress in the attic). We attended the Obama inauguration together.
Nate is thoughtful, intelligent and funny. He reads a lot, from
So when Nate last week became one of the 900 or so players to be cut this summer -- he was released by the Cleveland Browns after spending just a week with the team near the end of camp; the Broncos had let him go in the offseason -- I suggested a public conversation, which we conducted via e-mail, about life in the NFL.
Also, it's impossible to simulate the physical movement of actual football plays when you're training alone. The reactive explosiveness and instinctual moves that become refined through repetition tend to rust a little when you're not practicing. It takes some time to get your football legs underneath you. Four practices wasn't long enough for my legs or my mind to adjust.