Former Chicago Bears quarterback said in an interview broadcast Wednesday that if he had known the dangers of head trauma from playing football, he might have been a baseball player.
"Being injured, if you don't play, you don't get paid. If I was able to walk out on that field, I was gonna play," he said in an interview with Chicago's WFLD-TV at his Arizona home. "Had I known about that stuff early on in my career, I probably would have chosen a different career. I always wanted to be a baseball player anyway.
"I went to college I played both sports, I would have stuck to that. That was my first love was baseball and had I had a scholarship to play baseball, I probably would have played just baseball. But football paid for everything, it still does. That Super bowl XX team is still as popular as it ever was. Until they win again, we're gonna still make money."
McMahon, 53, who is suffering from the early stages of dementia, was part of the Bears' only Super Bowl championship team. Last month he made the cover of Sports Illustrated as one of the 2,000-plus former players who have joined in a lawsuit that accuses the NFL of concealing the risks of concussions.
"The guys that started the lawsuit out ... these guys are in dire needs. Both financially and in their health," McMahon says. "I didn't make a lot of money in the '80s, so you know what these guys made. A lot of them had to have jobs in the off season, this and that ... I've never had a job other than the NFL, and I hope to never have one. I'm not in it for the money. This is about raising awareness, whether or not these guys knew back then this was going to happen."
McMahon suffered countless concussions during his 15-year career. The most famous of which may be when he was body slammed after a play by Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Charles Martin.
He said after most hits he received a cursory glance from the trainers, who then let him return to the game.
"They'd ask you questions, basic questions. Where are you, what day is it? Stuff like that," McMahon said. "And if you were able to answer that and seem like you were ok they would let you back in."