Mike Webster. Terry Long. Justin Strzelczyk.
Three former Steelers offensive linemen that died way too young, and three linemen that all were diagnosed with Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, better known as CTE.
If you watched the PBS Special “Frontline” Tuesday night, entitled “League of Denial,” you already know where I am going with this.
The Steelers, like it or not, seemed to be the focus of former lineman who died due to the amount of beating their heads took in their careers.
Webster is the most glaring example. A Hall of Fame linemen who wound up living in a pickup truck, who by the time he passed at the age of 50, could not keep a thought very long nor put a sentence together.
The chilling special actually showed pics of a deceased Webster, looking a lot older than 50, and just how beat up as a former NFL center who played nearly two decades he was.
It was Webster’s case that kicked off the story of how the NFL has spent two decades trying to hide how blows to the head long term have no effect on a player after they are done.
If you don’t think the special had any merit, than why did the NFL force ESPN to pull the plug on the project, thus it shifted over to PBS?
The two-hour special talks a lot about Webster, but also about Long, who killed himself after drinking antifreeze.
Former Steelers team doctor and neurosurgeon Julian Bailes spoke a lot in the special, and also talked about the chilling effects of the body after taking basically a car wreck 1500 times over the course of a season.
The NFL, to no surprise, didn’t seem to want to have any part in the special, going so far during the special to deny that blows to the head during a game or season could ever have any long-term effect.
It wasn’t till current commissioner Roger Goodell, who at one point was called in front of congress, took over that the league finally started to take the problem seriously.
It’s the sport we love, the sport we grew up on and still watch and root for today, but at the end of the day, there’s a lot more risk involved than many felt.
If you didn’t believe that now, just take two hours and click the link below to watch the special to see if you think any differently.
Click HERE to watch “League of Denial”