Brett Favre is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. A three-time MVP. A Super Bowl champion. A Hall of Famer.
But he’d prefer that his grandsons not try to follow in his footsteps.
Indeed, the way in which Favre perceives the game has changed drastically in recent years, this after a wave of research has been released about CTE and brain trauma, which have ravaged countless football players.
Former Steeler and four-time Super Bowl champion Rocky Bleier, however, doesn’t give it much thought.
“None. No time,” Bleier said on The DA Show. “In all honesty, I spend no time thinking about that or how it may affect me in a long period of time.”
The reason for that is simple.
“I never had a concussion,” the 71-year-old said. “I never was knocked out, never saw bells, got dinged or any of that kind of stuff. It doesn’t mean I might not have some effects later on just because of the contact over a period of time. And when we talk a period of time, we talk about junior high, high school, college, as well as the professional ranks – just the constant falling down, getting hit – may have some effect later on. But I can’t dwell on that. Only because of the fact that I won’t let myself dwell on that. If it happens, it happens.”
Bleier was drafted by Pittsburgh in 1968, played his rookie season, served in Vietnam, returned home, and played for the Steelers from 1970-80. In those days, Bleier explained, concussions testing was rather rudimentary.
What’s your name? How many fingers am I holding up?
If you passed that test, you were good to go.
“We didn’t know anything about the long-term effects,” Bleier said. “But that was part of what I signed up for and part of the risk in playing a contact sport – and football is a contact sport.”
Still, Bleier is happy that players are more aware of the long-term effects of concussions and repeated hits to the head.
“There’s more knowledge out there,” he said. “There’s more understanding. It’s a trickle-down effect and people can make different choices as they come through their playing career, whether they want to continue or not continue or cut it short after several concussions. It’s really up to the player. But let’s just assume this: it’s a contact sport, there’s some part of assumed risk on the player’s part, and now we’re in a better position because of understanding of concussions and what needs to be done – and ultimately the long-term effect if you don’t do anything about it and keep putting yourself back into that situation where you get multiple concussions. It can really have a devastating effect on your life later on.”