His agent says that before the deal was signed, Jackson never even looked at the contract, telling Woods, who suggested he look it over, "Nope, it's good enough for me." There have been other first-rate college football players who chose baseball, notably Kirk Gibson, a wide receiver for Michigan State. But few football players of Jackson's stature have ever walked away from the sport in this manner. Others, including John Elway, tried professional baseball and quickly hustled home to buckle their chin straps. Says Stewart, " Jim Thorpe played with the New York Giants but never cut it big in the big leagues. He didn't have the power and arm that Bo does." There we go again. Now Bo is better than Jim Thorpe.
So how can Bo fail? A bad attitude is one possibility. At Auburn, Jackson was not always known as a team guy. It may simply be a quirk, but in 1984, Auburn's football team was 3-4 with Bo playing, and went 6-0 when he was sidelined with a separated shoulder. Baseball is a more individual sport than football, and thus may be Jackson's more natural environment. But Bo must learn to handle inside fastballs and not to muscle the bat.
What Jackson must learn is baseball. Kauffman, considering the question of possible failure, muses, "You can never tell what fame and money will do. I think he can overcome the temptations presented. Brett did." A note of caution comes from the Royals' Willie Wilson, who says, "He does have great power. But I would kind of like to see him do something first." Nicely said.
Back in Kansas City, general manager John Schuerholz, who briefly considered not sending Jackson down for any minor league seasoning—which might have been disastrous—says, "I believe Bo is as happy as he can be, with that spring in his step, that gleam in his eye and that smile on his face. And I think he'll be even happier." Agent Tom Zieman, Woods's partner and the man who handled the football negotiations, has an earthier view: "Bo is happy as a dead pig in the sunshine." Huh? "Yeah, a dead pig just bloats up and gets a permanent smile on his face." That, too, is worth pondering.