Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival from the Bottom of the Pile by Nate Jackson:
On Tuesday, our first day off of the regular season, I buy a new Denali. It’s a foolish purchase but I can’t help myself. I could picture it with my eyes closed as soon as I signed my contract. I love the Denali’s angles, the chrome grill. I love the idea that I can buy a giant luxurious machine with only my football skills.
Still, practice squad players have less security than anyone on the team. They are shuffled around constantly. If someone on the active roster gets hurt, the scrambling and rearranging often squirts a practice squad guy onto the streets. But I had no vehicle, not even my green Civic, and when I looked around at the players’ parking lot, I glimpsed the spoils, at minimum, that my talent might afford me. No point in saving every penny. Might as well try to keep up with the Joneses, just this once. And the Denali does make me feel like I have accomplished something. It gives me a tangible reminder of my hard work. Every morning when I jump onto the soft leather seat and turn over that sweet engine, I tell myself that I better have a great day at practice or I won’t be making the payments. I’ll be “workin’ a nine-to-five with a thirty minute,” just like our special teams coach Ronnie Bradford says will happen to us if we keep f*cking up the plays.