Former quarterback Joe Namath, one of the most outspoken and memorable players in NFL history, now says that playing football damaged his brain.
In an interview with CBS Sunday Morning scheduled to air on Super Bowl Sunday, the former Jets QB admits to learning some disturbing truths about his health in his post-football days. “I’ve been some through some things medically,” Namath told CBS News reporter Rita Braver. “I’ve seen some things on my brain. But I’ve had some treatment – and I’ve improved."
Even further, Namath seems to question the very idea of football. "None of the body was designed to play football," he said. "Excuse me, you know, football, we’re just not designed for.”
Namath is now the most famous former NFL player to draw a connection between football and long-term head injury. Last fall, former Cowboys great Tony Dorsett confessed to suffering signs of brain damage as a result of concussions.
Namath famously guaranteed a victory for the upstart Jets 45 years ago, and then carried through on that guarantee back in Super Bowl III, leading the Jets to victory over the Baltimore Colts 16-7. Namath suffered other injuries during his NFL career, most notably to his knees, both of which had to be replaced.
The NFL has reached a settlement with 4,500 former players over concussions, but that settlement is on hold over concerns about whether the $765 million apportioned for former players is sufficient to meet medical needs.