The Broncos start training camp today, and, sure, you could go watch. But unless you sneak into the locker room and hide behind Brandon Marshall's ego, going to camp won't give you even a hint of what life is really like for the Broncos. For that, you'll have to hit your favorite bookseller.
Almost exactly three years ago today, the Broncos started the 2006 training camp with 3/4 an extra body in camp: Author Stefan Fatsis, who somehow had managed to persuade the team to let him go through camp as a kicker, to see and feel and smell (and write about) what it's like to endure the six weeks of hell that precede each NFL season. The book -- A Few Seconds of Panic: A Sportswriter Plays in the NFL, which comes out in paperback next week -- is a uniquely fascinating look at what it takes to be an NFL player, told through the trembling legs of Fatsis and the shockingly loose lips of such introspective characters as Jake Plummer, Ian Gold, Nate Jackson and Preston Parsons.
It's the best dissection I've read of what it's truly like to play in the NFL. But just in case my endorsement doesn't convince you, I harassed Fatsis via email for the short Q&A below. He lives in DC, by the way, with his excessively cool NPR-hosting wife, so presumably he answered these while smoking a tobacco pipe and arguing about the relative merits of a single-payer health system, and whether the Car Talk guys are really brothers. Just in case you needed a mental image.More »