The latest cautionary tale from a former player regarding the NFL and concussions is somewhat of a false alarm.
Earlier in the week, a report surfaced saying that former Steelers wide receiver Antwaan Randle El wouldn’t play football if he could do it all over again.
However, Randle El said Wednesday on ESPN’s “Dan Patrick Show” that those comments were “overblown.”
Antwaan Randle El says “regret football” comment was overblown https://t.co/g1smv4BUZY
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) January 21, 2016
Randle El said he sometimes experiences memory loss, but that could be because he has six kids and has a lot going on in his life, including a master’s degree at George Washington University that he just completed.
He said in the original report that he had trouble going down stairs, but later clarified that it was because of knee pain and not any problems with his brain.
Randle El missed only one game in his nine-year career, in 2007 when he was with the Redskins. He said that he had a concussion in the 2010 preseason after he returned to the Steelers. That was his last year in the NFL.
He said he’s “not incapacitated” and that he doesn’t necessarily regret playing football, just that he wonders if he’d have had a more successful career in baseball if he had pursued it after being drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 1997.
At 36, it’s plausible that Randle El still could be playing baseball. But after retiring from the NFL, he established a Christian high school in Ashburn, Va., called Virginia Academy and he’s the school’s athletic director.
It would be difficult for Randle El to serve in that capacity if football had taken a significant toll on his brain.
When he was cutting a player, former Steelers coach Chuck Noll would tell him that it’s time to get on with his “life’s work.” By choosing a sport in which athletes have a shorter shelf life, Randle El has been able to get a head start on his life’s work.