After a nine-year NFL career, former wide receiver Antwaan Randle El is regretting the decision to play the game in the first place.
Now five years after the end of his pro career, and still just 36 years old, he recently told J. Brady McCollough of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette he has trouble walking down stairs and struggles with memory loss.
"I have to come down sideways sometimes, depending on the day," Randle El said. "Going up is easier actually than coming down."
"... I ask my wife things over and over again, and she's like, 'I just told you that,'" Randle El said. "I'll ask her three times the night before and get up in the morning and forget. Stuff like that. I try to chalk it up as I'm busy, I'm doing a lot, but I have to be on my knees praying about it, asking God to allow me to not have these issue and love a long life. I want to see my kids raised up. I want to see my grandkids."\
Randle El, a second-round pick in 2002, spent time with the Pittsburgh Steelers andWashington Redskins before retiring in 2010.
Asked whether he regretted playing football, Randle El said looking back he would have gone a different way.
"If I could go back, I wouldn't," he said. "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."
Though the NFL is searching for ways in which to improve player safety, Randle El suggested there isn't any sort of equipment that can solve issues rooted in the violent nature of the game.
He also believes that due to these issues, the NFL's days are numbered.
"Right now," Randle El said, "I wouldn't be surprised if football isn't around in 20, 25 years."
Images Courtesy of Keystone Press