Jim Plunkett had the type of football career plenty of people dream about. He won a Heisman Trophy. He was a No. 1 overall draft pick. He won two Super Bowls as starting quarterback of the Raiders.
Decades removed from the playing field, Plunkett shared what his life is like now with Elliott Almond of the Bay Area News Group. It’s a tough tale.
Plunkett, who is 69 years old, has had 18 surgeries. He has artificial knees, an artificial shoulder and has had operations on his back. The Bay Area News Group said he takes 13 pills for his various issues: six in the morning and seven at night. A year ago, Almond wrote Plunkett contracted Bell’s Palsy, a temporary facial paralysis that caused one side of Plunkett’s face to droop. That disappeared, then bad headaches started, and Plunkett’s physician thinks that’s related to the Bell’s Palsy.
“My life sucks,” Plunkett told the Bay Area News Group. “It’s no fun being in this body right now. Everything hurts.”
Unfortunately, this type of story isn’t rare among former NFL players. The story tells about the punishment Plunkett took early in his career on some bad New England Patriots teams.
“He just got hammered — I mean hammered brutally,” Randy Vataha, a receiver who was a college teammate of Plunkett’s at Stanford and with the Patriots as well, told Almond. “He got up a lot of times when he shouldn’t have. Probably played some games when he shouldn’t have. That’s Jim.”
Plunkett will be remembered forever in football history, as all Heisman winners and all Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks are. But Plunkett, far away from the spotlight, feels the reminders from his playing career every day.
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