Paper Tiger

One Athlete's Journey to the Underbelly of Pro Football

By Ted A. Kluck
(Lyons Press, Hardcover, 9781599210438, 223pp.)

Publication Date: September 2007

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ON PAIN . . . "Post-practice, my body is a bas-relief road map of pain. I am purple from shoulder to elbow and my arms sport an interesting array of little polka-dot welts (from the mesh practice jersey) and Field Turf abrasions. There is a nice, purplish bruise around the outer portion of my right eye and if my wife harbored any excitement about sleeping with a professional athlete, then it is for naught. My plan is to not be touched by anyone for any reason, for several days. Sexy." ON REGRET . . . "It has been cool just to be a part of pro football in the little ways--the crowd, the arena, the music, the warm-ups, the autographs, getting my licks in on the field. The feel of the rough leather grains of the ball against your arm as you take a handoff and turn up field. But I am discovering that I can't really do this anymore. I'm not as good as I was five years ago, and I wasn't even that good then." ON ENDINGS . . . "I wanted to be in the locker room with my friends, with our guys because those are the things I'll miss. I'll miss eating
pizza with them after games. I'll miss the feeling of leaving
the locker room with a wet head after the postgame shower
rolling my bag past the lingering fans on the way out to the
car, knowing they're looking at me because I'm a Player. I'll never have that again."

About the Author

Ted Kluck's work has appeared in ESPN The Magazine, Sports Spectrum magazine,, and several small literary journals. A bimonthly column for Sports Spectrum magazine entitled "Pro and Con" won the Evangelical Press Association award for best standing column. 

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