Professional sports is a career that most people perceive as glamorous as they envy athletes who have the opportunity to make money playing what appears to be a child’s game.
When it comes to the brutal sport of football, that child’s game has grown-men consequences and potential long-term damaging effects on the brain.
According to former NFL player Sam Shields, the NFL is a path in his life he regrets walking down.
The former defensive back and Super Bowl champion recently went on the Dan Le Batard “South Beach Sessions” show and revealed that he has second thoughts every day about having played professional football in the NFL.
#SouthBeachSessions Before the concussions started, Sam Shields was one of the fastest cover cornerbacks in football. He spent nearly a decade in the NFL…
He wishes he hadn’t.
— Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz (@LeBatardShow) November 1, 2022
The main reason is because of the hits and the concussions that came with the game.
According to Shields, the concussions he sustained in the NFL are why his head is feeling “all mushed together.”
And that’s totally understandable, because many football players have suffered from those symptoms once their careers were over.
Another reason that he isn’t too proud of his professional football career is that he feels like once you no longer play the game no one cares about you or supports you.
In other words, once you step away from the game, you’re a nobody. He told seven of his so-called “friends and family” abandoned him after he stopped playing:
“When you’re done with football, everybody forgets about you. Family, friends. I got one friend. In football, I had 10. Now I got one where I know that that’s my friend. That I could really say, ‘You’re my friend.’ I don’t even talk to most of my family members. Once football was over, everybody was over with me,” Shields said.
When Le Batard asked Shields if he’d live his NFL career all over again, he said no.
“I’d be going to school, trying to work for home improvement. I’d be trying to learn how to build a house.” Shields said.
The former Green Bay Packer and Ram spent eight seasons in the NFL and even saw a Pro Bowl in his career. A very talented defensive back, he was one of the fastest coverage defenders in the game.
It is unfortunate that he regrets having the professional career, because he was definitely a productive player who had an impact on the teams he served.
But this is the reality that some players have to deal with, the constant headaches and migraine, and the ever-looming thought of having CTE. It’s tough.
While this profession can bring a man fame, fortune, and fans, it can also bring him pain and trauma.
The idea that someone can wake up and get paid millions of dollars to play the game that they love has always been a dream for many people, but nobody talks about health conditions or long-term risks. Instead, most players seem to fade away after their NFL careers are over. Many are often struggling with debilitating health problems caused by a lifetime of cracking helmets.
Money doesn’t always make everything better, and Shields will tell you that. Shields made over $34 million, according to overthecap, and he maintains that it isn’t worth the pain and what he’s going through in his head now.
Hopefully, he gets the help he needs. We hear these stories way too often, and once the thrill of the crowd is gone nobody really cares.
That’s why more and more players who do have some leverage in contract negotiations are trying to get as much money as possible as soon as possible, so they can retire with “their chicken and their mentals,” in the words of the great NFL philosopher Marshawn Lynch.