Bo Jackson waves to the crowd as he is honored prior to the start of the opening day game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
The devastating hip injury that ended Raiders great Bo Jackson's football career has always been a cause for fans to dream of what might have been. But according to Bo Jackson, even before he went down with that hip injury, he was preparing to announce his retirement from football.
Jackson appeared on ESPN Thursday and was asked if he had regrets about the hip injury and ever asked himself "what if things were different?" This was his response:
"No, I don't for this simple reason: Four days before I had the hip injury, my wife and I sat down and talked about my sports career and I was planning on announcing my retirement from football that season... I swear to you... I didn't lose the love for the game, I've never lost the love for the game, but it was getting hard to... because my oldest was getting ready to start school. I didn't want to take him out of school in Kansas City, then take him out of school, put him in school in Los Angeles, and when the season was over, we go back to Alabama. I didn't want him being moved around and shuffled around like that. It was more because my family and my kids. I was willing to go and do something else and to make sure my kids didn't grow up and have the childhood that I did."
It is hard to say if Jackson would have followed through with his plan to retire if he hadn't gone down with the injury. But he did continue to play baseball in Kansas City for another few seasons where his son was in school. He even says his signature moment as a pro came not with the Raiders but in baseball.
"It would have to be after I came back from my hip surgery... before my mother passed away. She asked me if I was going to come back and play baseball and I said 'if I did, that first hit I get would be for you'. And it just so happened to be a home run. I got lucky and hit a home run.
"It put and exclamation mark on my career. If it had ended the next day, I'd have been happy because I'm a person that if I make a promise to my mother, which everybody should and you should keep it, and I did that and the man upstairs allowed me to do it well."
Also in the same interview, he says he doesn't watch the three major sports on TV. But admits that some of the young guns in football excite him.
"It's really not one, but if I had to name them in order it would be the Cam Newtons... I knew what this guy was gonna do after I seen him play the first two games. I don't get excited about athletes in sports but when I saw him do what he do, it almost stirred up an old flame inside of me and that's hard because I don't watch football, baseball, or basketball. Period... I am a fan, but I did it for a living and I moved on and I'm doing other things now. But the first time I saw this kid play ball and all of the adversities that he was going through and still go out and perform on a level that a lot of people has never seen before, that caught my attention. And it's the same way with the young man from Baylor [Robert Griffin III], It's the same way with Andrew Luck. All of these young kids are gonna do great things, all of these kids have the potential to be in the Hall of Fame and do things. It's kids like that that actually capture my attention."
"Tim Tebow is a former Gator? He's gonna need that gator skin in New York... I wish him well, but New York fans? from a different planet."