The product

Former Dallas Cowboy Pat Toomay found it harder to write about the NFL than to play in it

He had saved enough money from his football days to allow him the writer's life; he would not need constant paychecks, only the occasional payday. Sometimes, he would travel to New York City and collaborate with his friend, playwright David Rabe (author of Hurlyburly). And he has a small cameo in Oliver Stone's forthcoming football film On Any Given Sunday -- despite the fact that the movie has nothing at all to do with Toomay's novel.

But he is most concerned with trying to find a publisher for his third book. Fifteen years has been too long a wait between books. But this one needed the time: It deals with his divorce in 1995 and how difficult it is for the professional athlete to find himself out of the game he thought he loved.

Pat Toomay, before The Crunch
Pat Toomay, before The Crunch

"The book has to do with that moment when you're without the activity you've been doing since you were 6," Toomay says. "It's such a large moment. John Updike, in one of his Rabbit books, says retirement for an athlete is 'a little death.' He was right."

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