One of the (few) things I miss about working as a single-team beat writer is the opportunity to roam the locker room and get to know the "Bottom 50," the vast majority of the roster behind the team's top 2-3 stars. You never know what type of people you'll find, and you can only do it when you spend an entire season covering that team.
As a result, I don't think I've ever talked to Detroit Lions defensive end Lawrence Jackson, who joined the team prior to the 2010 season. But as this extensive Q&A with Grantland.com suggests, Jackson is a man of many interests and unknown depths, at least to me.
Grantland's Katie Baker caught up with Jackson at, yes, the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference last week. Jackson developed an interest in statistical analysis after reading a story from our friends at Pro Football Focus, and he said: "I think pretty soon we'll get into a time period where athletes will use analytics in great detail to enhance their training and their ability to execute in their sport."
In his discussion with Baker, Jackson revealed thoughts on Karl Marx, said that being an "intellectual" doesn't mean he undermines his coaches and said his career changed when he stopped thinking about how he is playing. He wrote "PRP" on his shoes: "Play. Repeat. Play." Players have referred to him as "LoJackrates," among other philosopher-nicknames.
You can read the full story here. It's worth your time.