Because It Was Sunday: The Legend of Jack Youngblood

Pro Football Hall of Famer Jack Youngblood released an authorized biography, Because It Was Sunday: The Legend of Jack Youngblood, earlier this month. Contrasting his 1988 autobiography Blood, the book was written from the perspective of those who influenced Youngblood and not by the legend himself.

“I think there were a couple of reasons to do the book,” Youngblood said in an exclusive phone interview. “[One] aspect was to go back and reflect on all of the life-changing moments in my career and in my life that have brought us to this point in 2011.”

The book is not dedicated to any one person because there have been too many influences in Youngblood’s life.

“There can’t be one person,” he said. “There are so many people in your life that have a … significant impact on who you are and what you are.”

Jack Youngblood

Youngblood is commonly regarded as one of the best defensive ends to play the game.

From his fraternity days at the University of Florida to his post-NFL career endeavors and philanthropic work, Because It Was Sunday opens several pages into the life of the American football icon.

More than 30 active and former NFL players, coaches, high school and college teammates, family members and friends, including Archie Manning, John Madden, Tim Tebow and Bill Parcells, were interviewed for the account of Youngblood’s journey through life. These diverse personalities reveal rare stories and photos from Youngblood’s past and speak candidly of his struggles and the odds stacked against him.

An interesting anecdote in the book describes Youngblood’s draft-day experience with the L.A. Rams in 1971. “Playing at the University of Florida and clearly not having a clue that I was going to have the opportunity to be drafted,” he said, “that was just not on the radar. None of this television or media that goes around the draft was being done in 1971.

“The phone rings and there’s a call saying, ‘The coach of the L.A. Rams wants to talk to you.’ My first instinct was that some of the boys back at the dorm are messing with me. So I grab the phone, and I have no idea, much less who the Rams were, but who the coach was.”

Before Super Bowl XIV, Youngblood played three playoff games that year, including the Super Bowl, with a fractured left fibula.

Bringing his story full-circle, the biography also depicts the contrasts between football, 30 years ago, and today.

“It’s amazing where we have come with the notoriety of the game … now they’re the highest ratings on television,” Youngblood said.

The story also includes Youngblood’s current efforts with the NFL Players Association, helping active and former players.

“We’ve come a long way with where we are in identifying and trying to find some solutions to this serious, serious issue,” Youngblood said of his work with the NFLPA’s Traumatic Brain Injury Committee.

The biography, written by D.W. Cooper, is available at bookstores nationwide. For more information, visit the official website.

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