Jackie Slater, Pro Football Hall of Famer, on how coronavirus has changed his daily routine
Apr 20, 2020
By Daniel Canova | Fox News
Quarantine Routine is a regular feature that asks political, business, sports and entertainment power brokers how their daily lives have changed -- and how they're still doing their jobs -- during the coronavirus crisis.
Just like everyone else across the United States, Pro Football Hall of Famer Jackie Slater is dealing with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Slater, drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the third round of the 1976 NFL Draft, was selected to seven Pro Bowls and broke a record for most seasons with one team. His No. 78 jersey number was retired, and he was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.
Slater told Fox News on Thursday that the coronavirus pandemic has changed almost everything in his daily life.
Slater went into more detail about his life in a Q&A with Fox News.
Former Los Angeles Rams tackle Jackie Slater speaking at a ceremony for retiring his jersey (#78) during halftime of a game against the Green Bay Packers on November 24, 1996. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images/Sporting News via Getty Images)
Fox News: How has your daily routine changed since social distancing measures began?
Slater: Things have changed dramatically. My normal routine has been altered as you might imagine. I’m normally a guy who likes to go to the gym a few days a week and try to stay on top of my old football injuries. I try to keep the muscles a little stronger around my joints, and whatnot. I haven’t been able to do that. And I have struggled to get motivated to go walk on a treadmill or work on a bicycle that I have here at my house.
My life has changed drastically. I am very limited relative to going out to the market because I am in an age group that they say is most affected. I am in both demographic age groups that are most affected. And that is being over the age of 65 and being an African-American in this country. With those kinds of things that you have to consider, you might imagine that going to the grocery store is tough. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a couple of guys to take my check, throw my groceries in the back of my car, and away I go.
Things have changed, things have really changed. I can honestly tell you that it is unprecedented when you look at what is actually happening in our country. But it’s not like the first time that we had unprecedented measures that we’ve had to deal with during my lifetime.
Fox News: What are the biggest challenges in doing your job during this crisis?
Slater: I was coaching at Azusa Pacific University, but then my wife had a couple of surgeries, and it didn’t allow me to do that, so I stepped down. But I was able to continue my work as a football analyst at Fox here in Los Angeles since the Rams came back to town. And also I do a little radio spot at a local radio station here. But other than that, since 2006 I’ve been training offensive linemen all around the country. And I continue to do that.
I consider myself retired, but I’m the type of person that feels like I have to be doing something. I get paid to train guys, but I feel like I’m giving back because when you play 20 years of pro football at a position that requires a great deal of skill, it’s hard to just sit on that skill when you can see people that can use it. I enjoy watching young men building their careers and doing it the right way at the position that I play. I’m passing my knowledge on and those guys are benefiting from it. The guys I’ve trained have signed over $600 million worth of contract extensions since I’ve been training. I’m enjoying those aspects of it.
But the biggest challenges are going to be deciding if I train a guy or not. The first thing that comes to mind is that I would have to ask the guy if he’s been tested for coronavirus. And then I would have to look at his background. I am going to have to be more particular about the people that I spend time with regardless of how my passion wants to help them because I just can’t be foolish and jeopardize myself or anyone else.
Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinee Jackie Slater during the enshrinement ceremony Aug. 4, 2001 at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH. AFP PHOTO/David MAXWELL
Fox News: What do you miss the most about how you did your job before this began?
Slater: Obviously I don’t get to interact with the guys. I have guys asking me, ‘What am I going to do?’ and ‘Where am I going to go?’ and I just tell them that I’m holding pat, and I’m doing what they recommend us to do, which is to stay home and stay safe.
And for the guys who are repeat guys who have been out here, I can talk to them because we have a terminology that is unique, and a couple of guys send me shots of them doing certain things in games that were really good, and accentuates some of the stuff that I was teaching.
But the thing I’m going to miss the most about my hands-on work with the guys, are those moments when guys are having a problem, and I present the solutions for them, and it feels good and it feels right, and you see them make the extra note about it. And they just want to sink their teeth in it because they know it’s going to solve a problem that they were encountering out on the football field.
Fox News: What surprised you most about how life has changed?
Slater: I think the biggest thing is the actual bewilderment that I seem to sense in the minds, hearts, and actions of a lot of people who just could not even fathom something like this occurring. I happen to be a man of faith. And as I read scripture and hear different things taught about the days in which we are living, my expectations are yes we do want to live a happy and healthy life, but things aren’t always going to go the way we like.
I just think sometimes we take for granted that things are always going to be peachy cream, and it’s not going to be that way. It’s just like for me when I was playing football. Sometimes I would look at film on a guy, and see an average guy, and assume that it was going to be an average day in that game, but then when I got there, the guy was a bit stronger, a bit quicker and faster, and a whole lot smarter than I had anticipated, and I found myself in a whirlwind. Simply because of my assumption that things were going to be as I thought they were.
NFL Hall of Famer Jackie Slater speaks to the audience after he receives the Bart Starr Award for his son New England Patriots wide receiver Matthew Slater during the Bart Starr Award Super Bowl Breakfast on February 04, 2017, at the Marriott Marquis in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Fox News: How do you blow off steam?
Slater: Obviously the computer is an opportunity to keep up with what’s going on around the world and locally. And in sports, and looking at how the president is addressing these issues. All of these kinds of things are very interesting, as you sit idle and watch how the world functions as you are not a part of it in a way. That’s given me a great deal of opportunity to spend time.
I have also participated virtually in my normal church services at the church I attend, as well as the Bible studies I attend one night a week. I was rocked a little while, I wasn’t able to get it going, and they didn’t have all the operations as smoothly as you would like to have them. But now that they ironed out all of their wrinkles, it’s been kind of cool to interact with those parishioners that you see on a regular basis.
One of the things that I’ve been a little bit anxious about, and has me curious like everybody else, is the upcoming NFL Draft. It’s a far cry from where it was when I got drafted, and when Walter Payton got drafted, and Robert Brazile got drafted out of Jackson State University. It’s a far cry from that, and having to abandon a lot of the things of late that have been so valuable to NFL teams, and they now have to resort back in a way to the things that they did back in the ‘70s.
Dan Canova is a Sports Reporter for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @DanCanova
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