Bruce Smith might be the greatest defensive end of all time. He was the No. 1 overall pick in 1985, he was an 11-time Pro Bowler, he was a nine time first-team All-Pro, he was a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, he played in four Super Bowls, he’s the all-time leading in sacks, with an even 200, and he was a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
So yeah, it’s not hyperbole to say he might be the greatest defensive lineman of all time.
Unfortunately, Smith, 52, is feeling the effects of 18 seasons in the NFL.
“I’ve got all sorts of issues,” Smith said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “Looks are deceiving, but it hurts to get out of bed. Do I forget things sometimes? Absolutely. That’s what these programs that the NFL has set up for us and me personally – I take it upon myself to make sure I’m in to see the doctor, and I pay attention to what’s going on with my health and I talk to the Players Association on a regular basis to find out what programs are available so I can participate in these studies and get health check-ups and things of that nature.”
Doug Gottlieb has a 7-year-old son who wants to play football. He wants to be a wide receiver. He wants to be Odell Beckham Jr. But we know a lot more about the dangers of football now than we did when Smith was 7 years old.
Gottlieb asked Smith, more or less, if he should allow his son to play football.
“Get a great education,” Smith said before repeating himself for emphasis. “Get a great education. If he wants to play football, don’t deny him that opportunity, but calculate the risk – because your health is the most important thing that you have in your possession. Not your money, but your time and your health is the most important thing that you have in your possession. Don’t waste it.”