Tag Archive | "nfl"

The Man Who Knew Too Little

The Man Who Knew Too Little

Pruitt infuriated NFL defenses with the flimsy, tear-away jerseys he wore for much of his career, evading would-be tacklers as he raced his way, half-shirtless, to another first-down. “Sometimes I’d need ten or twelve jerseys a game,” said Pruitt, an elusive running-back and kick-returner who played nine seasons with the Cleveland Browns and three with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, with whom he won a Super Bowl, before retiring in 1984.

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Reconsidering the Past – After a Stroke

Reconsidering the Past – After a Stroke

Despite a knee injury that ended his football career after eight seasons with the Miami Dolphins, Charlie Babb didn’t realize what the game did to his body until two years ago. “I was having headaches, and I got out of bed one morning and just fell to my left, on the floor,” said Babb, who was a rookie safety on the undefeated 1972 Dolphins team. “My wife said, ‘That’s it, you’re going to the doctor.’”

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Ricky Nattiel: “I’m Always Worried”

Ricky Nattiel: “I’m Always Worried”

It’s the damn little things Ricky Nattiel can’t seem to remember: the name of an old friend, or a favorite actor, or a television show he’s seen thousands of times. The former Denver Bronco wide receiver says he doesn’t have dementia or suffer from depression. He hasn’t experienced mood swings or entertained thoughts of suicide. But it’s those seemingly benign memory lapses that dog him, causing him to fixate endlessly on whatever it is he cannot remember.

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If He Knew Then What He Knows Now…

If He Knew Then What He Knows Now…

Despite six AFC Championship appearances and a ring from Super Bowl XI, Warren Bankston is not sure he would have played professional football if he knew what he knows now. What he didn’t know was the possible long-term damage that hard hits could cause years later. He also had this description of the first time he was knocked unconscious in an NFL game.

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“I Don’t Want to Say I’m Losing It”

“I Don’t Want to Say I’m Losing It”

On game days for the Detroit Lions, Dexter Bussey is still at Ford Field. He isn’t wearing the number 24 on a silver and blue jersey, and he isn’t on the field adding to his career 5,105 yards as the team’s third all-time leading rusher. He’s not on the sidelines as a coach, or in the stands as a spectator.

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Hoping to Help a New Generation

Hoping to Help a New Generation

Richard “Dick” Schafrath is not your average guy. He once ran 66 miles just to prove to naysayers that he could. He wrestled with a bear – and survived. He canoed 78 miles across Lake Erie despite a fear of water. Schafrath’s simple explanation: “I like doing things that no one else has done or tried.” Schafrath, now 76, has a storied history beyond these outlandish accomplishments.

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The Limits of Being “Mr. Durability”

The Limits of Being “Mr. Durability”

Former Redskins center Len Hauss recalls some flights back to Washington after a game when he was so woozy that even several hours later he didn’t know where he was. Once, as the Redskins team plane was landing after an especially brutal game in San Francisco in which he was knocked unconscious, a teammate turned to him and said, “Hey Len, you didn’t even know you were on the plane that whole trip home.”

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Hoping His Mind “Will Hold”

Hoping His Mind “Will Hold”

The mid-October sunlight cast a glow over the worn façade of Candlestick Park. The San Francisco 49ers had invited their former tight end Ted Kwalick, 66, to the stadium last fall to watch his old team play the Arizona Cardinals as part of the alumni weekend celebration. The team now belongs to Colin Kaepernick and Vernon Davis, but years before it had been his.

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The Funny Man’s Serious Side

The Funny Man’s Serious Side

Bob Lurtsema admitted to being “scared to death” before every game he played. As part of an elite defensive line during the 1970s Minnesota Vikings’ feared Purple People Eaters era, the big hits came fast and often.

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Safety First, but Considering the Game’s Future

Safety First, but Considering the Game’s Future

The year was 1971 and Dave Elmendorf was a rookie safety for the Los Angeles Rams pulling double-duty on special teams. He wasn’t sure he would make the team during training camp, but now, after starting each game in the 1971 season, this was his final contest: a road game for the Rams at Three Rivers Stadium against the Steelers.

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