Buffalo Bills fans have raised more than $60,000 for former linebacker Darryl Talley, who has suffered medical and financial hardship since his playing days ended.
Talley played for the Bills from 1983-94, and retired in 1996. He made two Pro Bowls and played in all four of the franchise's Super Bowl appearances in the early '90s.
In a story by Tim Graham of The Buffalo News published Wednesday, Talley talks about the troubles he's endured since retiring, including learning that he played with a broken neck, battling depression and having his traffic signage business fail.
From the News:
He’s often depressed beyond the point of tears. He’s bitter at the National Football League for discarding him and denying that he’s too disabled to work anymore. He says the Bills have jilted him, too. He learned after he retired that he’d played with a broken neck. He had a heart attack in his 40s. He lost his business. The bank foreclosed on the Talleys’ home of 17 years. Against her husband’s pride, Janine Talley has accepted money from friends to pay the bills. He contemplates killing himself.
“I’ve thought about it,” Darryl Talley flatly said last month on the patio of the house he and Janine rent. “When you go through the s--- that I’ve gone through, you start to wonder: Is this really worth it? Is it worth being here, worth being tortured anymore?
Bills fans have responded by raising more than $60,000 for Talley on a GoFundMe page set up on his behalf. As of Friday evening, the page had raised $61,741.
The article quotes family, friends and former teammates, including Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith, who are concerned about his well-being. Concerns stem from the similarities of Talley's condition shared by other former NFL players with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated head trauma. As Graham's article points out, an autopsy is the only way to provide a concrete diagnosis for CTE.
Talley claims he was never diagnosed with a concussion, though he disclosed frequently suffering from symptoms typically associated with those dealing with CTE.
So how many concussions would Darryl Talley guess he suffered? He emitted that warbling laugh again.
“Too many to count,” Talley replied. “I’ve hit people, got up, felt like my eyes were bouncing back and forth, or I’d see mini lights. I’d have to say at least 75 times I saw little lights. I’d have to say it’s got to be more than 100 concussions.”
- Mike Fiammetta