Bo Jackson is universally recognized as one of the greatest running backs to ever play football, and among the most incredible athletes of all time.
Drafted by the New York Yankees in the second round of the 1982 MLB draft after clubbing twenty home runs in 25 baseball games as a high school senior, he chose to attend Auburn University on a football scholarship, where he wound up accumulating 4,303 yards on the ground while averaging close to seven yards per carry during his four college seasons.
As a sophomore in 1983, he ran all over Alabama for 256 yards on 20 rushes, averaging an insane 12.8 yards per carry, and eventually won the Heisman Trophy as a senior.
He also played baseball for three years at Auburn, hitting 28 home runs with 70 RBI’s while batting .338 over 90 games.
He went on to become a star with the Kansas City Royals and the Los Angeles Raiders, and is still the only person to be selected as both an MLB All-Star and a NFL Pro Bowler. Nike’s legendary “Bo Knows” advertising campaign combined with his otherworldly talents to make him a cultural icon in the late ’80s and early ’90s that transcended the realm of sports.
His exploits are beyond legendary, and he’s still spoken of with awe and reverence by those who saw him in his prime.
But hindsight, as they say, is 20-20, and during a recent interview with USA Today, Bo said he never would have played football had he known the full extent of the physical risks.
“If I knew back then what I know now, I would have never played football,” he said. “Never. I wish I had known about all of those head injuries, but no one knew that. And the people that did know that, they wouldn’t tell anybody.”
“The game has gotten so violent, so rough. We’re so much more educated on this CTE stuff (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), there’s no way I would ever allow my kids to play football today,” Jackson said. “Even though I love the sport, I’d smack them in the mouth if they said they wanted to play football.
“I’d tell them, ‘Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.'”