Ex-NFL wide receiver Antwaan Randle El regrets ever playing football, he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“If I could go back, I wouldn’t,” he said. “I would play baseball. I got drafted by the Cubs in the 14th round, but I didn’t play baseball because of my parents. They made me go to school. Don’t get me wrong, I love the game of football. But right now, I could still be playing baseball.”
Randle El, now 36, says the injuries he sustained in his nine-year NFL career have made his post–football life difficult.
“I have to come down sideways sometimes, depending on the day,” Randle El said about using stairs. “Going up is easier actually than coming down.”
In 2013, Randle El and three other former NFL players filed a lawsuit against the league in an attempt to reveal its lack of attention to concussions. He was one of 5,000 players who received part of a $900 million settlement in 2015 as a result of the lawsuit.
“I ask my wife things over and over again, and she’s like, ‘I just told you that,’” Randle El said, referencing the head trauma he believes he sustained while playing football. “I’ll ask her three times the night before and get up in the morning and forget. Stuff like that. I try to chalk it up as I’m busy, I’m doing a lot, but I have to be on my knees praying about it, asking God to allow me to not have these issues and live a long life. I want to see my kids raised up. I want to see my grandkids.”
Randle El was a first team All-Pro selection in 2005, as well as a Super Bowl XL champion with the Steelers.