Former Pittsburgh Steelers legendary quarterback Terry Bradshaw played the game with the sort of toughness that marked the NFL of the 1970s and ’80s, and Bradshaw was able to take some hard shots without showing so much as a grimace afterwards. One of the things that stands out to me about Bradshaw’s playing style was his attitude; he knew he had a strong enough arm to get it past any defensive player. It was a point of pride for Bradshaw to gun the ball into a window without having to look off the safety, and that sort of tough attitude was one of the marks of Bradshaw’s career (the other has to do with those Super Bowl victories).
Terry Bradshaw spoke to the New York Daily News’s Christian Red about the class-action lawsuit on the NFL by thousands of former players, and his thoughts are extremely interesting. Although Bradshaw seems glad his peers took action, he stated that he never considered joining the suit. Why? “I knew what I signed up for.”
That’s what Bradshaw told the NYDN, and he expanded on that quote by saying he knew that the “byproduct” of playing football is injuries. He also spoke about adding guaranteed medical insurance for former players following their retirement, which was a suggestion made by another legendary player in Tony Dorsett.
Bradshaw said, “It’s too late now. That could have been part of it and they threw it out. (Retirees) needed money right now and that’s good. Could they have gotten more? Probably. But who knows how long it would have taken and how many more of our former athletes would have died or committed suicide. So if this money’s going to save lives and give comfort to a lot of players, then OK.”
Players had to have known that playing football equates to injuries, and injuries, especially recurring ones, will definitely have an adverse effect on a person later on in life. However, the reason for the suit and the reason why the NFL is trying to protect its players with more zeal is the fact that concussions and head injuries carry severe long-term issues. What angers some former players is the fact that the NFL covered up the magnitude of the long-term ramifications of these injuries, but Bradshaw’s “I knew what I signed up for” assessment is both blunt and true.