Jason Slowey on NFL and Western

Written by: Liberty Miller | Lifestyle Editor

In a recent interview with Jason Slowey, the Howl Sports Network delves into his experience of being one of three Western players in history to be drafted into the National Football League. The exclusive interview was held on April 24, 2024 — the 12-year anniversary of Slowey’s original NFL prospect interview with KOBI-TV on NBC5. The original news story featured a 23-year-old Slowey in his senior year at Western. Slowey is now 35 years old and, among his other accomplishments, secured a position at Sacramento State University in 2023 as their newly minted rush ends coach. 

Slowey’s interview with KOBI-TV walked viewers through a regular day in the Western football program. After a short tour of his house and pre-workout routine, the video pans to the weight room beneath the football stadium and a quick clip of the track. 

During the filming of Slowey’s power cleans and single-arm dumbbell bench press, he shared that “It’s hard for a lot of people to start something when they’re not good at it, and that’s why people quit things. They start it and they’re bad, then they’re done — but you can get past that.” 

He explained that, at the time, Western didn’t have a sports performance coaching staff, so the program coaches were responsible for lift programs. “Coach Ferguson was our weights coach. We didn’t have Cori Metzgar until my senior year — she’s actually a good friend of mine now — so Coach Ferguson was in charge of the weights programs and what we did in the weight room.” 

Slowey was recruited straight out of high school in 2007 and spent his first year in the program as a redshirt, meaning that he had little to no game competition and was measured on his performance in the weight room. 

“So, the first day we came into weights, and Coach Ferguson did this challenge with the team where we had to bench press 225, as many reps as we could. I only did three reps. I was the weakest player in the program, but I just took that as an opportunity to get better. Me and a few of my friends would go in when no one else was in there, and we would teach ourselves how to lift in our off-time. I wasn’t the strongest or best player coming in from high school, so I just dedicated myself to becoming better in the weight room and on the field.”

Eventually, Slowey would become one of the strongest prospective blockers in the NFL. In an article written by Sports Illustrated reporter Tony Pauline, he described Slowey as “…one of the nastiest blockers in the draft.” Slowey attributes that to his lengthy time in the weight room and dedication to gaining weight and muscle, thinking back to the time when he could bench press 225 only three times before failure.

Slowey was in his senior year at Western when Coach Ferguson pulled him aside and told him he was being considered as an NFL prospect. “We had a bunch of recruiters and teams coming to practice, coming to lift, seeing how I was with the guys and how much weight I moved during my workouts.” Following a successful 2011 season, the following year’s NFL draft was held on April 26-28, 2012. 

“I was in my home here at Western, and I had about twenty people at my house for the three days it was being aired. My friends and family were excited, but I was trying to play it cool. By the time we got to the last day, I started getting nervous with the possibility of not getting chosen. On the third day, I got a call from my agent, and they told me I was going to be a sixth-round pick. That’s when I got selected by the 49ers,” said Slowey.

Slowey played with both the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders during his time in the NFL, then he went on to play for the BC Lions, in the Canadian Football League and spent some time playing arena football for the Portland Thunder. Due to Slowey’s lengthy struggle with a back injury, he retired from the sport in 2014. 

Slowey stated, “I was dealing with my back injury for a long time, and I ended up retiring. But I’m just like every other athlete that’s had to deal with an injury that caused them to stop playing because I still wanted to be involved in the game somehow, I wanted football to still be in my life. I came back to Western and I asked about a coaching position with the football team, but there wasn’t one at the time, so I took up a job with track and field. I was able to work with both sports at the same time and just worked my way into eventually coaching football.” 

Slowey worked at Western until 2022 and was offered a position at Sacramento State University as the rush-ends coach.

“It was a bit weird, the transition from playing offense my whole life to coaching defense. I was an offensive lineman and a center all my career, so to come in and coach defense was interesting for sure, but I’m having a good time. It’s been a journey and I’m grateful for everyone that’s been along for the ride.”

Slowey had some words of advice to players in the Western football program, having come out of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference — GNAC — himself and securing his place as one of three players to represent the Western football program on a national level. 

“Trust the coaches, trust your teammates and trust the program. It sounds like a bunch of coaches’ lingo, but it’s true. Trust the process that’s been set in front of you, and put in the work to get to where you want to be.”

Contact the author at howllifestyle@wou.edu