For Better or for Worse, Fear Is Part of Being in the NFL

Retired NFL player Thomas Jones talks about the nature of being in the NFL -- from using fear as an effective motivator to knowing that the only constant is change.

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[Thomas Jones] Fear is a part of the game. There's different aspects of fear. Fear of getting creamed, fear of failure, fear of not living up to your expectations, fear of someone taking your job. Fear is—uses motivation—I would say about most NFL guys—it was for me. Your namesake is on the line. You're putting yourself on display. You're putting your name on display, your talents on display for the masses to be judged. But I think anytime you do something of that magnitude, fear is always there. It just depends on how you channel it. Yeah, fear is definitely there. The guys who are scared and are fearful of getting creamed— those guys don't last. It's the guys who are fearful of failure—those are the ones who last. Me and my brother are very close, and we both played running back. We grew up watching all the NFL greats and the college greats and for us to be able to play—not only in the NFL, but for both of us to get football scholarships— I went to the University of Virginia, he went to Notre Dame, and we had at least four or five occasions where we were playing on national TV at the same time, which was amazing coming from my town of 4,500 people. That's just not reality—it's not realistic—that wasn't supposed to happen. But I would play a game during the day, and I would go watch him play on ESPN at night. We both would have 100 yards—he's a true freshman, I'm a senior— we'd both have 100 yards on the same day. And once we made it to the NFL it was even more crazy because we played against each other four times— twice on Thanksgiving Day. In 2006 we became the first brothers in NFL history to rush for over 1,000 yards in the same season, which was—it doesn't get any better than that for two brothers that play running back. I would have different conversations with him because he's my brother, and we go way back. But it would be similar content because the NFL is the NFL. The only thing that's constant about the NFL is change—that's it. If you're winning, you're going to stay. If you're losing, you're not. If you're making too much money, you're going to go. If you're not making too much money, you're going to stay. That's the only thing constant.
Posted on BrainLine August 19, 2013.

Produced by Noel Gunther and Erica Queen, BrainLine.