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Randle El regrets playing football, says game may disappear

Antwaan Randle El, Pat Chung

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antwaan Randle El (82) can’t come down with the pass in the end zone as New England Patriots safety Pat Chung (25) defends in the second quarter of the NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2010 in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)


Former NFL wide receiver Antwaan Randle El has regrets about ever playing football and thinks concussions and spinal injuries might lead to the end of the sport.

Randle El spoke to writer Brady McCullough as part of a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette feature, “From 10 to Ben,” and said if he had to do it again, he would not play football.

I would play baseball,” he said. “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, 36, said he has trouble walking down stairs and suffers from memory loss.

“I ask my wife things over and over again, and she’s like, ‘I just told you that,’” he said.

Randle El played five seasons with the Steelers and four with the Redskins. He retired after playing with the Steelers in 2010.

He said he believes the game’s violent nature supersedes any safety measures those involved might take.

“It’s a tough pill to swallow because I love the game of football,” he said. “But I tell parents, you can have the right helmet, the perfect pads on, and still end up with a paraplegic kid. There’s no correcting it. There’s no helmet that’s going to correct it. There’s no teaching that’s going to correct it. It just comes down to it’s a physically violent game. Football players are in a car wreck every week.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if football isn’t around in 20, 25 years.”