A decade ago in Super Bowl XL, wide receiver Antwaan Randle El became one of the most celebrated members of the Pittsburgh Steelers when he executed a trick play throwing a reverse touchdown pass to Hines Ward to clinch the game and beat the Seattle Seahawks.
But now he says he regrets ever playing the game.
“If I could go back, I wouldn’t,” he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I would play baseball. I got drafted by the Cubs in the 14th round, but I didn’t play baseball because of my parents. They made me go to school. Don’t get me wrong, I love the game of football. But right now, I could still be playing baseball.”
Randle El, who retired from the NFL in 2010 says that he has trouble making it down flights of stairs and forget things his wife had previously told him.
He said the violent impact of the sport is equivalent to being in “a car wreck every week.”
He is especially fearful of what the sport does to high school athletes and says it is too much for developing young bodies to constantly take.
“The kids are getting bigger and faster, so the concussions, the severe spinal cord injuries, are only going to get worse,” he said. “It’s a tough pill to swallow because I love the game of football. But I tell parents, you can have the right helmet, the perfect pads on, and still end up with a paraplegic kid,” he said. “There’s no correcting it. There’s no helmet that’s going to correct it. There’s no teaching that’s going to correct it. It just comes down to it’s a physically violent game.”
Read the full story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.