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Great advice from former New York Giants star Rashad Jennings

Retired running back discusses his new book, “The If in Life,” and how he feels about wearing tights.

Former Giants running back and author Rashad Jennings

Former Giants running back and author Rashad Jennings with Kidsday reporters Michael Standel, left, Eve Arevalo, Mavin Iannotta and JJ Echevarria at the NFL Experience in Manhattan. Photo Credit: Newsday / Pat Mullooly

Recently, we went to the brand-new NFL Experience Times Square in Manhattan and met former Giants running back Rashad Jennings.

We met Rashad because he was in Manhattan to talk about his book, “The If in Life: How to Get Off Life’s Sidelines and Become Your Best Self” (Zondervan Books). This book is about Rashad’s life and achieving his goal of becoming a running back in the NFL.

In high school he had a problem becoming a running back because he was 270 pounds and had asthma. But he pestered his coaches to let him play. In the last game of his junior year he finally got the chance and he scored four touchdowns — two on offense and two on defense.

What changed his life was a University of Tennessee scout who was at the game. He asked Rashad about his grades, and Rashad told him his grades were not good. The scout told Rashad to get his grades up and he would go places in football. The rest of the book has stories that tell about his rise in the NFL and his family and his beliefs. This is an interesting book, and we recommend you read it.

When we talked to Rashad he was a positive and very nice guy. We asked him what made him write this book, and he told us that he had always wanted to write a book. Also, we asked what attribute someone needs most to be successful like him. He told us we need to have discipline and to not be afraid to stand alone. It was funny, he said that sometimes the knuckleheads want to distract you, but you need to be OK with being alone and not joining in.

Turning back to football, we asked which player hit him the hardest, and he said it was Clint Session from the Philadelphia Eagles, who was not very tall but had a lot of leverage.

Rashad played for the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Oakland Raiders and finally for the New York Giants, from 2014 to 2016.

We think his best answer was his last answer because it applies to everything you do in life. We asked Rashad what attributes a person needs to be an NFL player.

He again said, “Discipline.” But he added, “You have to have a passion and self-motivation. Not every single person is going to be able to push you. You have to find it in yourself and keep encouraging yourself and believe in yourself.”

We also wanted to know how it felt to wear the costumes on “Dancing With the Stars,” since as a kid, he said in his book, he wouldn’t take ballet because he would have had to wear tights. He said he doesn’t mind wearing them at all now — he has grown up.

We really enjoyed meeting Rashad. He was nice, friendly and really patient because he signed about a million things for us. We think you should read his book because it is inspiring for kids and adults.

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