Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival from the Bottom of the Pile by Nate Jackson:
I hang up and drive. My Bronco life, like a stack of images being shuffled, flashes in front of my windshield. I always knew this moment would come but there was no way to prepare for it. In the NFL, you are alive until you are dead. There is no in between, and no way to put yourself on the other side mentally. You fight every day to keep your job by convincing yourself that you belong. And every day you return to work and see your name still posted above your locker is proof that you deserve that locker. Then one day, fate sneaks up behind you, taps you on the shoulder, and breaks your nose—or blows out your knee.
Then it’s over.
When I get back to my parents’ house, my mom tells me there is a message for me on the machine.