Indiana great Antwaan Randle El wishes he never played football
Most people don’t realize that when Antwaan Randle El was at Indiana, he played three sports. And no, he didn’t just play them recreationally. The former Indiana quarterback also spent time on the baseball team and he even played basketball briefly for Bob Knight.
He wanted to do it all.
Before he got to Bloomington, he was drafted in the 14th round by the Chicago Cubs out of high school. Instead, he went to college to try and do everything. Ultimately, he went pro in football.
Even though Randle El went on to become one of the greatest players in Indiana history and he won a Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he wished he could do it over again.
“If I could go back, I wouldn’t” play football, he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in a Steelers-themed project posted Tuesday. “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, 36, is retired from the NFL. But, as he explained to the Washington Post, he’s hardly in his twilight years.
The former B1G MVP struggles with memory loss and he can barely walk down the stairs. Often times, he said, he has to ask his wife things over and over because of the head trauma he suffered.
After he retired in 2012, Randle El and three NFL players filed a lawsuit against the league alleging it “has done everything in its power to hide the issues and mislead players concerning the risks associated with concussions.” Randle El did wind up earning a chunk of the $900 million concussion settlement, along with 5,000 other former players.
His feelings about the sport even came out in his work. Now a high school athletic director at Virginia Academy, the school actually cut the youth football program because it was too expensive. Randle El didn’t put up a fight.
Given the heightened public awareness of the sport’s dangerous effects with the recent release of the movie “Concussion,” Randle El said he thinks eventually that will outweigh the profitability. He even predicted that football could be gone in 20-25 years.
If more players like Randle El open up about their post-football issues, maybe it will be.