Stories of the long-term physical downside from playing in the NFL are sadly nothing new. The latest reminder involves former Washington Redskins defensive end Bruce Smith.
The Hall of Fame lineman told the Associated Press he suffers from daily pain and frequent memory loss. The AP interviewed Smith, 52, while he attended former Bills teammate Jim Kelly's charity golf tournament outside Buffalo on Monday.
Wearing a tight orange golf shirt that shows off his muscular physique, 52-year-old Bruce Smith is still capable of casting an intimidating presence like he did while setting the NFL career record for sacks.
Looks, however, can be deceiving, the Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame defensive end acknowledged.
"I look good, but I'm in pain every day," Smith said, while attending former teammate Jim Kelly's charity golf tournament outside of Buffalo on Monday. "There's not a day that I'm not in pain: multiple joints and things that I experience on a daily basis. It can be very frustrating sometimes."
Then there's his memory.
"You'd probably have to ask my wife about that," Smith said, when asked if he was experiencing head-injury related symptoms some 13 years after he retired. "I forget a lot of things sometimes."
Smith recorded an NFL record 200 sacks over 279 regular season games during a 19-year career, including the last four in Washington. Then tack on another 20 playoff games and clearly the No. 1 overall pick in the 1985 Draft played plenty.
Ironically, Smith spoke at the event just before NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who "defended the league's approach to addressing concussion-related concerns," according to the AP.
Not all would agree with Goodell's assessment of the league's approach over the years especially in light of numerous reports showing concerns over the NFL's involvement in concussion research.
"You just want to know all the facts and the truth, and for some reason or another I don't think we'll ever get to that point," Smith told the AP. "There are some guys that are suffering that we need to make sure that are taken care of."
Despite his current physical issues, Smith said he would do it all over again.
"While I did not know the severity of what continuous head traumas would do to an individual and the mind and so forth and so on, I'm not going to sit here and complain," Smith said. "I'd be lying to you if I didn't tell you it hurts on a daily basis. But I'm very thankful."
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