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There's no place like Nebraska for Jason Peter

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Where are they now: Jason Peter

The former Nebraska defensive end earned All-American status for the Cornhuskers in his senior season. He was a member of teams that won or shared three national championships in 1994, 1995 and 1997.
NFL career: Drafted by Carolina Panthers in the first round of the 1998 draft. His career was shortened by a chronic neck stinger that forced him to retire after the 2001 season.

What he's doing now: Peter recently authored a critically acclaimed book "Hero: A Memoir of the Underground," a detailed story about his overcoming drug and alcohol addiction released earlier this month. He's also co-host of "The Spread," a local talk show on ESPN 1480 in Lincoln, Neb.

Why he wrote the book: "I thought people could learn from my mistakes. And I wanted to tell what I had gone through. I don't know why people are angry at me because I blew my NFL career. You don't think that doesn't bother me that it didn't go the way I wanted. Yeah, it bothers me, too."

On gaining personal insight by writing the book: "It was a little bit therapudic. When I had gotten out of my last [of six trips] to rehab and got into coaching, I would constantly talk to kids about my story. I wanted them to know what I had been through. I think they should know. But for me to write it, almost had to get my mind back to where I was before, being paranoid when I was on drugs in an apartment building. Back when I was evading the police. That was something that was very difficult to do."

On the appeal of playing at Nebraska: "Nothing ever measured up to that. It was an amazing time with amazing people and being back there and working today is amazing. Those people get it. They really care."

On the difference in playing in the Nebraska atmosphere to the NFL: "Nebraskans were so proud of that team and with the way they treated me [in a good way], it probably clouded my judgment of how I should be treated once I went to the NFL."

Can Nebraska return to where to the levels of the past: "It's hurt Nebraska not to be able to get those Prop 48 kids like they did in the Big Eight. And it's tougher to recruit to Nebraska than it is to Southern California or Texas. You've got to get kids who want to come play in this program."

Changes he's observed in the Nebraska program with the arrival of Bo Pelini: "We're not USC or one of those big schools in the Midwest. Maybe that's what the last group [Bill Callahan's staff] wanted to become. They wanted to get those USA Today All-Americans or those four-star guys. But the new group is a different breed, kind of like Bo himself. He's a plain-spoken man. They want to get guys who are tough and passionate about playing for Nebraska."