Playing in the NFL can be quite generous to a man’s bank account, but the human body is not set up to take all that punishment for years and many guys end up paying for it with pain and/or regret.
Sam Shields is one of those players.
The longtime NFL defensive back recently admitted to Dan Le Batard that if given the chance to play football, he would not do it.
“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 tweeted.
The 34-year-old has dealt with concussions and the symptoms that have come with it.
“Once you’re in that NFL, 100 percent of the responsibility’s on you. So you got to take risks because you got to take care of your family. So your head is all mushed together with the concussions,” said Shields in a revealing interview with Dan Le Batard on South Beach Sessions. “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 claims he was also mistreated by agent Drew Rosenhaus, who encouraged him to play through injury.
“Everything would bother me. I didn’t know where to look. I’m locked in my house for weeks and weeks and lying to my mom telling her I’m alright. ‘Don’t come over, I’m alright.’ I said that over and over because I didn’t want them all frustrated. I never told them what I was really going through. I just kept it to myself and kept going through the pain,” said Shields, who made a brief return to the NFL with the Rams in 2018 after missing most of the previous two seasons. “They’re not helping you. They just want you to play. That’s why I fired Drew Rosenhaus. Because it was always, ‘Sam you could do this.’ I don’t give a damn about no money. I was like, man I got to get my head right. My s— is not together.”
Concussions have been a major talking point for years with many current and former players taking aim at the league to do better to prevent them.
While the NFL has since amended its concussion protocol, Shields sees that as lip service.
“New guys going right back out there. Because you can get this. Oh, you can get four more million, all you got to do is play one more year. So in your mind, you think, ‘Hell yeah,’ because you already been taking risks throughout the years in football, so that’s all you know,” said Shields. “F— that $4 million. And I was telling Drew that on the phone. I don’t care about the money. I care about my health. I don’t care if they give me $20 million.”
The undrafted player out of Miami appeared in 96 NFL games, pocketing over $34 million in that span.
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