"I was naive about the NFL," he says. "I thought I was still playing a game. BYU was so good and so fun. We were family. They nurtured you, respected you and you did your best and that's all they asked. Then when I got to the pros, I almost didn't recognize the game.
The coaches were very caustic. They were all over you, screaming at you. There's so much pressure on them to win."
After football, he earned a master's degree in physical therapy and worked in that field for six years. Then, unable to resist the lure of more money and flexible hours, he became a salesman for medical equipment; first, knee braces, then pacemakers, now high-tech gynecological equipment. He spends part of each day in surgery, showing doctors how to use the technology.
"I have a good life," says the 39-year-old Knight, who has four kids with wife Dana and lives in Park City.
Of course everywhere he goes, he's asked the same question: Did you play football? He's still the same size as his playing days, except, he notes, "My neck was 22 inches, and now it's 20 inches. The extra two inches slid to my waist."
Knight, a humorous, easygoing, articulate man, says this about his playing days: "I wish I had had a better NFL career. At the same time, I did everything I could. My ankle is still screwed up. It's huge. It's just a big calcified block."
Is it really true he hasn't watched an NFL game since retiring from the game? "How much fun is it to watch another guy sweat?" he asks. "But I would go out and play again for BYU.
"I have one reoccurring dream. Sometimes I'm at work, sometimes I'm out jogging, but a BYU academic adviser tracks me down and says, 'Shawn, guess what? We made a mistake. You still have another year of eligibility left. Do you want to come play?' ""I'll bet I've had this dream 30 times. It's like the best day of my life in this dream. Then I wake up and I'm depressed because it wasn't real. That's how much I enjoyed BYU."
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