In a first-ever comprehensive survey of football's long-term effects on an entire NFL roster, SI polled the former members of the 1986 Bengals, whose physical and psychological conditions a quarter century later range from near complete normalcy to near total disability. But no matter their current hardships, the vast majority say they have no regrets.One of the members of that team was Reggie Williams '76. From the story:
Linebacker Reggie Williams, 57, has had 24 surgeries on his right knee alone and, like many former teammates, fears he's only at the beginning of a steep physical and mental decline. "I know the clock is ticking," says Williams. "I'm playing the stalling game like everyone."Also:
Today, Williams feels fortunate he's as mentally acute as he is. "I know I put my brain in a hard place more than once," he says. "But I want to have rich experiences with my kids and grandkids. That would be the biggest thing taken from me—not to be able to look forward, to understand. So I do cognition games. I do crossword puzzles. I read interesting books. I watch movies in foreign languages. All to keep my mind engaged."To read a little more about Williams (be aware there are several gruesome pictures of his leg with the story) check out the retiredplayers.org website.
Despite the difficulties Williams has had as a result of his career, two of his sons have followed in his footsteps as athletes.
Kellen, is a 6-foot-1, 220-pound, walk-on freshman linebacker at Vanderbilt. Find his bio here.
Another son, Julien, is a professional mixed martial arts fighter. Find a video interview with him here.
•Speaking of Vanderbilt, former Dartmouth defensive tackle and tight ends coach Derham Cato will be with the Commodores as a grad assistant when they play Cincinnati in the Liberty Bowl in a couple of weeks. Find his bio here.