After getting released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following the 2016 season, former Florida safety Major Wright never gave it a thought that his long football career might be over. No way.
He was working out every day, waiting for the next NFL team to call. But weeks went by, then months, and no call.
That’s when the realization that he’d never play the game again hit him much in the same way he’d hit opposing running backs and wide receivers throughout his career — with a devastating and thunderous thump.
It shook him. Shook him badly.
“I went into a deep depression. I was in a bad place,” he said. “I wasn’t feeling like me. I’d wake up and say, ‘Who are you, Major?’
“Once I found out it was over, I was like, ‘Damn, man, my dream job, something I’ve done since I was a kid and now it’s over. What else are you good at?’ ”
In his quest to discover his post-football persona, Wright sought out positive energy. And he found that energy on the streets of south Florida.
“I started hanging out with positive energy,” he said. “I started doing this thing called Good Deed Tuesday. Once a month on a Tuesday, I go out in the community and do random acts of kindness. I started feeling almost like myself.
“When that happened, I just took off from there. There’s nothing I can’t do.”
Since discovering himself, Wright has opened a book bag company called Wright Baagz, started his foundations and created his own publishing company.
And now this: Wright has written a book. It’s called “Major Pain: Confessions Of A Smash-Mouth Safety.” It’s available on his website, majorwright.com, for $21. It will go on sale nationally on Amazon on July 1, his 32nd birthday.
“It’s doing really well,” Wright said.
The main theme of his book is about the obstacles he overcame over the course of his long football career — dating back to his pee wee days, high school ball, his time at UF and through his seven-year NFL career with the Bucs and Chicago Bears — that helped him have so much success at every level.
This is not one of those as-told-to books that many athletes and coaches pen with the help of a professional writer. Wright wrote this all on his own, every word.
“It’s not easy,” he said. “But I loved it. I loved the whole process. I actually wrote my book. I didn’t sit down and tell anybody about my story. I wrote it.”
The inspiration came from his girlfriend (now ex-girlfriend). And it kind of came out of nowhere.
“We were having a great conversation (on the phone),” he said. “Out of the blue, she said, ‘Major, I think you should write a book.’ At the time I was reading ‘15 Invaluable Laws of Growth’ by John Maxwell. In his book he said if you want to do something, put it into action now, because if you don’t it will never happen.”
Wright wrote down some ideas that night and then went to work writing the very next day. About 14 months later, he’s a published author.
“It was new to me, but once I got in a little groove, I just kept going,” he said. “I loved it, loved it. Dreams do come true. I wanted to write a book. I made it happen. Anything you want to do in life, you can do it.”
A good portion of his book is devoted to his three years at Florida. A highly recruited prospect out of Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquanis, Wright was a three-year standout (2007-09) who played a significant role on the 2008 national championship team.
In the title game against Oklahoma, his huge early hit on OU wide receiver Manuel Johnson deep down the sideline resulted in an incompletion that ignited the Gators and set the defensive tone for the game, which the Gators went on to win 24-14.
“(That hit) let them know we were going to be there all night,” Wright said.
That was one of his favorite big hits at UF. There were many others.
“Hitting Chris Rainey in practice was one,” Wright said. “I remember one game against South Carolina, I think it was my sophomore year, I hit a dude so hard he fumbled. There were a lot, but I can’t pinpoint some of them.”
Wright said UF fans will find the book enlightening.
“I wrote about everything,” he said, including some scoops on coach Urban Meyer. “I got some good stuff in there, some stuff that people never knew. I got some stuff in there that people didn’t see.
“Everybody’s got to just tune in and get the book.”
Wright said his three years in Gainesville were the happiest time of his football career.
“In high school, I had fun. But college, it was different,” he said. “The guys. … we all were really like a family. I have my best friends from college. Joe Haden. Ahmad Black. We’re really close.
“That bond we built in college is everlasting. College is the most memorable and most impactful part of my life.”
Wright is now hoping his book will have a positive impact on others, mainly young athletes, who are facing obstacles in their lives.
“My book will be able to tell my story and I can tell my story and motivate kids to want more out of life, and to want better for themselves,” he said. “And to believe in themselves.”
Wright is planning to write a second book.
“It’s definitely going to be about life after football,” he said.
With all that he’s done, and is doing, he’ll have plenty of material.