The other day I was on the phone with Wendell Tyler, the former Pro Bowl running back for the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers (and current juice salesman). I was interviewing him for my current book project, talking about the NFL of the 1970s and 80s. He was wonderfulâ€”a cool guy, good memories, excellent stories.
Then he said to me, “So, I looked you up. You’ve written some great books.”
“You know,” he said, “I’ve been thinking …”
“I’d really like to write a book, and …”
“I just need someone to help me write it.”
“I really have a great story. Doctors told me I would never play again after I hurt myself, but I came back and …”
This happens all the time. All. The. Time. Former athletes, well into their retirements, always want to write books. They overcame this injury. Or that adversity. They played in a Super Bowl. Maybe two Super Bowls. At their peaks, they often showed little-to-no interest in the media. But now, with the spotlight long gone, they crave the attention once again. I get it, and I don’t begrudge them. In fact, I’m willing to bet Wendell Tyler has a helluva story to tell. Tony Casillas, the former Cowboys lineman, also talked to me about writing a book. And Cory Fleming, the former receiver. And Robert Jones, the former linebacker. They’re all great guys with intriguing sagas and genuine life lessons.
But, from a publishing standpoint, it’s hard to see a real interest. So I cringe, because there’s always that awkward, “Well, uh, I, uh, don’t really, uh, do, eh, collaborative books. But, well, eh, yeah.”
And yet, I just saw Warren Moon’s new autobiography in my store.
So maybe I’m wrong.