In the latest installment of Deadspin's fascinating "Would You Do It Again?" series, former Saint Bill Cody gives a little insight into his life as a 69-year-old former professional football player. While the attention-grabbing line about giving money to players for big hits stands out (if only because of "Bountygate"), the more riveting aspects of the interview deal with what Cody can't remember.
It's riveting because there is a lot Cody forgets. He says he forgets what he did yesterday or a few days before, gets lost on the way to the wellness center that's near his house and he can't navigate New Orleans, the city he called home for three years without using a GPS.
I can't even navigate in my own neighborhood. And so [my wife] immediately made me buy a GPS. She won't let me go anywhere out of town unless she's going with me, or it's the same place I've been over and over. Like, I can go from here to New Orleans. It's only two roads. You know, I hit the interstate and that's it. But when I get to New Orleans, if I don't have a GPS, I am totally lost and I lived there for years.
For his part, Cody says he wouldn't have played football if he knew what he knows now and that he wouldn't have let his children play either. The interview reveals just how much old ideas of machismo overruled what were, even back then, seemingly obvious conclusions that you could make about the effect of getting knocked out during a football game. Cody doesn't exactly accuse team doctors of hiding the truth about concussions, but wonders if they should have known better about letting players back into games after being knocked unconscious. The byproduct, which was discussed at length in League of Denial, is the present Cody lives with, one where he can't even process books about how the NFL concealed its knowledge of the long-term impact of head injuries.
I can't tell you right now what I read, but I read a chapter and then at the wellness center this morning somebody asked me, "Well, what did you think of that book?" Well, I don't know. I read a chapter and I don't know what I read. That's what bugs me.
The interview is well worth reading in full at Deadspin.