Chicago Bears safety Chris Conte said he thinks playing in the NFL is worth having a shorter life. "I'd rather have the experience of playing in the NFL and die 10 to 15 years earlier than not play in the NFL and have a long life," he said.
Conte, 25, did not play during Monday night's 31-15 loss to the New Orleans Saints because of a back injury. He has been injured several times this season, including a pair of concussions.
Conte said he is not worried about the long-term health risks associated with playing professional football, according to a transcription from The Chicago Tribune's Rich Campbell.
"I'd rather have the experience of playing in the NFL and die 10 to 15 years earlier than not play in the NFL and have a long life," he said.
"I don't really look toward my life after football. I'll figure things out when I get there. As long as I outlive my parents."
"I'm not saying I'm going to go die when I'm 45, 50," he said. "I'm fortunate to go out and play football."
The Bears selected Conte in the third round of the 2011 draft, and he has played his entire four-year career in Chicago. In 12 games this season, he has 43 tackles and three interceptions. Conte's rookie contract expires after this season, making him a free agent this offseason.
- Paul Palladino