Published on Tuesday, 25 September 2012 16:25
Former Chicago Bear great Jim McMahon has been open about the damage to his brain done by playing football. He is part of a class action lawsuit against the NFL over their handling & knowledge of concussions in the game. Tomorrow night on WFLD-TV's "FOX Chicago News at Nine," primary sports anchor, Lou Canellis will have a very special, extended interview with McMahon.
Last Friday, Lou Canellis flew out to McMahon's home in Arizona to speak with the one-time "Punky QB." The two discussed at length McMahon's feelings on the NFL, concussions, and his own dementia that he battles due to the hard hits he endured while a quarterback for the Chicago Bears for six years, followed by an additional eight years with other teams around the league.
Here are some of the notable quotes from the extended interview which airs tomorrow night...
Canellis: "When you would get thrown down, and I mean really get your marbles rung out there, what would the team doctors on the sideline tell you?"
"Basically it's how you feel...can you see? Can you follow my finger? If you could do that... You know back then, my contract was mostly incentives, so, if you don't play you don't get paid. If I was able to walk out on that field, I was gonna play. Had I known about this stuff early on in my career, I probably would have chosen a different career. I always wanted to be a baseball player anyway. That would have been a lot easier on the body for sure."
Canellis: "Knowing what you know today, with the four concussions, and now you've made a great living, incredibly popular, would you still go do it? Knowing what you went through physically?"
"No like I said... I'd go try to play baseball. I went to college I played both sports, I would have stuck to that. That was my first love was baseball and had I had a scholarship to play baseball, I probably would have played just baseball. But football paid for everything, it still does. That Superbowl XX team is still as popular as it ever was. Until they win again, we're gonna still make money."
Canellis: "Because of what you're suffering from, early stages of dementia... have you ever considered taking your own life?"
"No. No, I have too much fun every day. My kid, my youngest son is 21, my oldest is 29, I'd love to see them grow up and have a family of their own. I told them 'not too quickly.' I don't want to be a grandpa yet, but you know... those thoughts do not enter my mind at this time, no."
Canellis: "Respond to the people out there who say, "the lawsuit is motivated by greed and not need."
"The guys who are in this lawsuit, the majority of them... the guys that started the lawsuit out, greed is not the...these guys are in dire needs. Both financially and in their health. They didn't... I didn't make a lot of money in the '80s, so you know what these guys made. A lot of them had to have jobs in the offseason, this and that... I've never had a job other than the NFL, and I hope to never have one. The way this economy is, who knows? I might be living in the guest house soon."
Lou Canellis' full interview with Jim McMahon can be seen Wednesday night on WFLD-TV's "FOX Chicago News at Nine," which airs from 9:00pm-10:00pm.