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Bo Jackson, who is still looked at as one of the best running backs in NFL history despite an injury cutting his career short, now says he would have never laced up the cleats on the gridiron if he knew then what he knows now. While he doesn’t regret how things worked out, if he could go back he would’ve only played baseball.


“If I knew back then what I know now,’’ Jackson tells USA TODAY Sports, “I would have never played football. Never. I wish I had known about all of those head injuries, but no one knew that. And the people that did know that, they wouldn’t tell anybody.

You can bet that nobody in his family will be playing the game in the future.

“The game has gotten so violent, so rough. We’re so much more educated on this CTE stuff (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), there’s no way I would ever allow my kids to play football today.

“Even though I love the sport, I’d smack them in the mouth if they said they wanted to play football.

“I’d tell them, ‘Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.’ ’’

Jackson claims part of the reason he dissed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when they originally drafted him was because he already knew there was something to fear about the violent nature of the sport.

If he did in fact focus on just baseball for all those years, there is no telling how great he would’ve been

Jackson, 54, who will be honored Saturday evening with the Scouts Dream Award at the 14th annual Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation banquet in Beverly Hills, knows that football truncated his career, but he has no bitterness.

“You know what,’’ Jackson says, “I still wouldn’t change a thing. The man upstairs had a plan of the way of working things out, and they did.

“I have no regrets.’’