Veteran Riders running back opens up on releasing memoir, goals for life after football
REGINA -- Saskatchewan Roughriders running back Marcus Thigpen has become a standout on the CFL gridiron, but lately he’s also shown his talents for writing and storytelling.
Specifically, Thigpen tells his story in his first book called “Resist and Persist”, published in 2018.
“The more people I told my story to, the more people were like ‘you should write a book’, you know it could help somebody else,” Thigpen said of what convinced him to publish his story. “By getting my story out there and being vulnerable, it allows people to see it isn’t all peaches and rainbows.”
Thigpen has been working on “Resist and Persist” for the last three years. The book documents his life story up until his release from the NFL’s Buffalo Bills in 2015.
The Detroit product says his love for football and road to the professional ranks were set in motion after an accident that claimed the life of a close friend.
“That accident actually saved my life,” Thigpen recalled. “I feel like that was the most pivotal part for me and my life. Like my turning point that allowed me to get on track, even though I went through all the other stuff afterwards.”
“I still had that in the back of my mind that I was doing it for somebody else, not just for myself.”
Like a game, the book starts with the coin toss, leading to the kickoff and goes all the way through to the fourth quarter.
Thigpen hopes the book can become a teaching tool and conversation starter.
Coaches and teammates sing the praises of the running back’s off-the-field project.
“It tells you a lot about Marcus,” said Craig Dickenson, Riders head coach. “He’s a very wise person and I think it’s a credit to him that he’s willing to share his story and you know share probably with the hope of helping others.”
“Once you crack it open you won’t stop, that’s what happened to me,” said Terran Vaughn, an offensive lineman with the green and white. “Reading his book, seeing the stuff that he went through – I have some stuff too but you know I’m kind of like sheltered, not really wanting to let it out.”
“With his book it’s helping me be better at talking about more stuff.”
But start of his literary venture doesn’t mean Thigpen is planning to step away from the game just yet. The 33-year-old says he’s still hoping to play for a few more years, but he’s also been putting some thought in about his life after football.
“I decided to get my master’s in psychology with an emphasis in life coaching because I want to be a life coach for an NFL team,” Thigpen said. “That’s my ultimate goal. I want to be able to help guys transition to the NFL and out the NFL.”
Although the events recounted in “Resist and Persist” end in 2015, Thigpen’s story is far from over. The running back says he’s already working on a second part of the book to put in paperback.
With files from CTV Regina's Jessica Smith.