Antwaan Randle El, a former NFL wide receiver who played nine years in the league and won a Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers, revealed that, if given the opportunity to choose to play football again, he wouldn’t, seeing as how his body is breaking down in the years since last playing.
Talking to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Randel El had this to say:
“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.”
The former wideout was a star on the gridiron, but was also a stud baseball and basketball player, as he referenced above after being drafted by the Chicago Cubs before settling on playing football for the Indiana Hoosiers instead, where he put together a stellar collegiate career.
Stating specific reasons on why he wouldn’t play football, Randle El continued by saying this, per The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette piece:
“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 issues and live a long life. I want to see my kids raised up. I want to see my grandkids.”
“I have to come down sideways sometimes, depending on the day,” Randle El, 36, said. “Going up is easier actually than coming down.”
While his personal experiences sound miserable and something that’s scary for a guy who’s just 36 years old, his opinion about the state of the entire sport of football are pretty shocking, too.
“Right now,” he said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if football isn’t around in 20, 25 years.”
“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.
“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. Football players are in a car wreck every week.”
With extra emphasis on concussions and the slew of injuries that continue to rack up each and every season on all levels of the game, Randle El’s claim about the future of the sport might not be as ludicrous as some might have thought just a decade ago.