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Kris Jenkins: Fans have no clue, NFL is hell

Kris Jenkins AP

Kris Jenkins, who played defensive tackle in the NFL for 10 seasons before retiring this year, has offered up an interesting account of life in the NFL, and why it’s anything but glamorous.

Jenkins shared his thoughts with Greg Bishop of the New York Times about how much pain an NFL career puts a player through.

“N.F.L. fans, people outside, they have no clue what goes on,” Jenkins said. “This isn’t like playing Madden. This isn’t like being the popular kid in high school. When you do those things in the real world, and it don’t work out, you still have your health. The thing about football is you’re directly playing with your life, the quality of it and the longevity of it. The stakes are up there.

“You ever been in a car crash? Done bumper cars? You know when that hit catches you off guard and jolts you, and you’re like, what the hell? Football is like that. But 10 times worse. It’s hell.”

Jenkins, who retired after a shoulder injury and three knee surgeries, says he had 10 concussions and “nobody cared.”

And yet Jenkins also says he likes playing rough, tough, physical football and that the players he respects the most are the ones who play it that way, too.

“I get tired of seeing all these polished idiots,” Jenkins said. “Chad Ochocinco. Terrell Owens. Go on Twitter and brag about how pretty your stomach muscles look. What happened to football?”

Ultimately, what’s most interesting about Jenkins’ account of all the pain he has suffered through for a career is this bottom line: “I wouldn’t change anything.”

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137 Responses to “Kris Jenkins: Fans have no clue, NFL is hell”
  1. i3addog says: Nov 19, 2011 5:33 PM

    Ever been so broke that you’d crash your car on purpose if it meant you could eat ? Yup, sure, Football can be brutal but if you have half a brain the money you get from one contract can set you up for life.

    To play is a choice, nobody put a gun to your head.

  2. ambitoos says: Nov 19, 2011 5:33 PM

    The money’s not bad either.

  3. rambo08 says: Nov 19, 2011 5:33 PM

    Jenkins was one dominant player in his prime.

  4. nepatriots128154 says: Nov 19, 2011 5:34 PM

    Reminds me a book I read, The Dark Side of the Game: My Life in the NFL by Tim Green. Gave a real good glimpse into what it’s really like being an average NFL player. He said the same things; that the is a dark side to the NFL, but that he would do it all over again.

  5. bettis3636 says: Nov 19, 2011 5:35 PM

    Ive never been a football player and any high level… but i know games are won and lost in the trenches… Jenkins would know best… and the common NFL fan cares less about issues like this.. and the NFL certainly doesnt care… they just care about the next big thing to make them $$$!!

  6. sch00ns says: Nov 19, 2011 5:35 PM

    Did he overlook the fact that he was able to retire after only working for 10 years? There are tons of people who would gladly take the abuse to make what NFL players make. It’s hard to take NFL players seriously with there “NFL is hard on our health” crybaby stories when they make as much as they do to endure the pain.

    When you sign the dotted line on a contract in the NFL, your signing yourself up to endure pain and make a ton of money doing it.

    So Mr. Jenkins, stick your story up where it belongs.

  7. jdandcoke says: Nov 19, 2011 5:36 PM

    im sure it is physical hell….and im also sure most of us who were never blessed with the ability to play at that level would LOVE to be able to, even if only for a year or two.

    these guys put their bodies through the wringer, BUT they were blessed with bodies that are able to take it….and they make a decent buck while doing it.

  8. dcviking says: Nov 19, 2011 5:39 PM

    Gee Kris, now that you’re done playing, I’m sure you’ll find an equally lucrative pursuit and realize all the things you gave up by pursuing that NFL career. (sic)

    Good luck to you, sir!

  9. maddogwhite says: Nov 19, 2011 5:39 PM

    I think there are more people/fans that understand the inherent risks and brutality in the game than Jenkins gives them credit for. Anyone who has seen Earl Campbell, still a relatively young man, hobble around on a cane knows what pro football can do to a man.

    The game IS violent. It IS intense. It IS dangerous. And that PARTIALLY why we as Americans love it more than any other sport.

    But, Mr. Jenkins, it doesn’t mean we don’t care about what happens to the real men who take those risks out there on the field.

  10. snarkzilla says: Nov 19, 2011 5:40 PM

    Well I did my time in that rodeo
    Fool that I am I’d do it all over again
    – Little Feat, Mercenary Territory

    Here’s hoping KJ lives a long, happy and relatively pain free life.

  11. mvpolamalu says: Nov 19, 2011 5:40 PM

    I get what he means, but it was his choice, as it was every other player in the league. It might be worth the millions of dollars aswell

  12. phadedwun says: Nov 19, 2011 5:42 PM

    It’s hell having millions of dollars, apparently.

  13. woodyg says: Nov 19, 2011 5:42 PM

    Jenkins has never had a ‘real job’ and never will …. Although the physical punishment of an NFL career is obvious, there are many, many non-football careers that also pay a huge toll on the individual …

    Try 40 years in the mines or rush into a burning building or face a deviant psycho who has a gun as a police officer …… The list goes on …..

    Jenkins needs to visit the real world & leave his world of entitlement for awhile …. He’ll find out that his comments are those of an ignorant person …..

  14. waccoforflacco says: Nov 19, 2011 5:43 PM

    The Steelers suck and are OLD.

  15. mintberrycrunch1 says: Nov 19, 2011 5:44 PM

    I bet Jenkins loves and respects Suh since he likes rough, tough, physical football. Jenkins knows what real football players are all about.

  16. herkulease says: Nov 19, 2011 5:44 PM

    Jenkins must’ve lost the ability to think straight too right?

    TO, Chad are fit because well they play positions that require them to actually move more than the 5 yards d linemen typically move on a play.

    They all can’t 300+ lbs.

    Everyone remember Andre Smith running his 40 at pro-day?

    That wasn’t a pretty sight.

  17. tommccrossin says: Nov 19, 2011 5:45 PM

    I think everyone could come up with a reason they have a hard life..

  18. tjacks7 says: Nov 19, 2011 5:46 PM

    Well you sold your soul for an amount I’m assuming totaled over $50 million over those 10 years.

    Nobody forced you to do it, Kris.

  19. Slim Charles says: Nov 19, 2011 5:46 PM

    He is right though, I’m a fan and I know like 90% of us are morons.

  20. jimmysee says: Nov 19, 2011 5:47 PM

    “It wasn’t easy
    It was hard as hell.
    You didn’t get luck in a wishing well.
    Never worked so hard
    Had so much pain.
    Wouldn’t change for anything.”

    Top of the World – by Rick Nielsen
    recorded by Cheap Trick

  21. helloreallly says: Nov 19, 2011 5:47 PM

    you can’t really compare football to a car crash. you have the choice to hurt yourself playing a game. don’t have a choice when you get hit by a car.

  22. mintberrycrunch1 says: Nov 19, 2011 5:48 PM

    To some of the above posters who don’t have reading comprehension skills – Jenkins was not complaining, he was stating a fact. He specifically said he wouldn’t change anything. I’m pretty sure he realizes playing in the NFL was his choice and that he made good money.

  23. warhammer7474 says: Nov 19, 2011 5:48 PM

    When will they get it??? We just don’t care about how rough their job is when they are making such absurd dollar amounts.

    Most of us have parents or grandparents who told stories about breaking their backs working tough jobs just to have enough to pay the bills and put food on the table for their families.

    These guys, at the end of the day, can afford to take their ailments to the best doctors and specialists in the world and have the rest of their lives to recover (comfortably).

    Todays athlete just doesn’t get how lucky they really are. Life is a series of trade-offs Kris. Had you really thought about that instead of just the dollars, you probably would have made the same decisions. Please don’t preach to the fans…we cannot empathize with you at all.

  24. txxxchief says: Nov 19, 2011 5:48 PM

    “There are no victims, only volunteers.”

  25. bettis3636 says: Nov 19, 2011 5:49 PM

    These comments are nuts… ALL he’s saying is the NFL is harder then it looks… everyone is taking this outta context

  26. seneca1ss says: Nov 19, 2011 5:50 PM

    Hey Kris,

    Go visit a poor country and get back to us………

    NFL for tough men? Yes! but not Hell

  27. nationalmediacansuckit says: Nov 19, 2011 5:51 PM

    I love the NFL, but the last time I checked this is a free country and you get to CHOOSE whatever profession you like. I realize football is a violent sport, but for Jenkins to use the “fans have no clue” card is played out. I tell you what I do have a clue about. Working and busting my butt 5-6 days a week to ensure my family has a roof over their head, clothes on their back and food on the table. Spare me with the NFL has it tough routine.

  28. contraryguy says: Nov 19, 2011 5:51 PM

    Love the T-Ocho comment near the end; this guy should be pushing a beer cart through a Miller High Life ad. “Flashin yo abs on cable TV? Y’all must be crazy.”

  29. mrplow3 says: Nov 19, 2011 5:53 PM

    This jackass has no idea what hell is….

    Let’s see him drive a truck the size of a house through 8 inches of snow and you don’t stop like you should because you have a wife and three kids at home depending on you to put food on the table and you are already barely making ends meet.

    This moron should be banned from speaking, he doesn’t have a clue what the real world is. He plays a game for millions.

  30. fahlso says: Nov 19, 2011 5:58 PM

    NFL players have no clue, real world is hell. You PLAY a GAME for millions of dollars. Don’t whine about how tough it is.

  31. j0esixpack says: Nov 19, 2011 5:58 PM

    I was all set to make a wry comment about him playing for Wrecks Ryan, but that article is a very good read…

    From his thought on how clueless he and other rookies are to, slamming Mangini’s approach to the game to him applauding the Patriots for their off field conditioning including acupuncture and Pilates.

    Jut an all around interesting read. The guy is speaking frankly and offers a lot of insights into the current state of the game.

    Well done Jenkins.

  32. tjacks7 says: Nov 19, 2011 6:03 PM

    A lot of us have jobs that are “hell.” Hell, some of us can’t even get jobs. But if you told me I could retire after 10 years and be set for life, I could think of a lot of things I’d be willing to do for 10 years that are much harder than playing in the NFL.

  33. winnersagain says: Nov 19, 2011 6:04 PM

    Yea, Im sure its hell making millions of dollars playing football a game you love. Nice Try, dude. If you think that is hell, Try working a normal job getting paid pennies buddy.

  34. wwwmattcom says: Nov 19, 2011 6:04 PM

    I recommend, ” You’re Ok, It’s Just A Bruise”. A doctors account of the Raiders. A must read for all football fans especially Raider fans or sports medicine enthusiasts.

  35. badtimeoutcaldwell says: Nov 19, 2011 6:04 PM

    You know what else is hell? Working in a factory 12 hours a day, 6 days a week for 12 straight months a year (without a 5 month offseason) for $55,000 a year. And then hoping and praying you don’t get laid off, because if you do, you have to make the choice to feed your family or pay your mortgage.

    These guys need to realize that the thousands of fans who fill the stadiums every Sunday often times have many many more problems than the players even realize. Bad backs, arthritis, bad knees etc. from their own physically demanding jobs that they need to continue to do for 45 years before they are allowed to retire.

    Sure there is some risks involved in playing in the NFL. But if you’re not up for it, then quit your complaining and please join the rest of us and work an 8-5 job for the next 45 years just so that you can make your payments and put food on the table.

    These guys have NO CLUE what the real world is like.

  36. tjacks7 says: Nov 19, 2011 6:05 PM

    I’m sure you would prefer the easy 7-5 career I have. Did I mention I only get about 2 weeks off per year? And I make peanuts? Yep, this is the easy life.

  37. mgscott says: Nov 19, 2011 6:08 PM

    Hey clown, try working a real job like 97% of the population. Just shut your mouth already.

  38. badtimeoutcaldwell says: Nov 19, 2011 6:08 PM

    I also know many people in their 50’s and 60’s with bad knees and backs whom have never played a snap in the NFL. Sometimes getting old sucks, and it can be painful to age.

    Does your physical health deteriorate faster when you’ve played in the NFL? I’m sure it does, but the fact that you are able to retire at the age of 33 if you manage your money correctly is the benefit. Stop your complaining…

  39. j972 says: Nov 19, 2011 6:09 PM

    I’ve always believed this. These guys earn every dime they get.

  40. thridandlong says: Nov 19, 2011 6:09 PM

    Mr. Jenkins, go talk to the family of a fallen firemen or policemen, who’s husband or wife gave their lives for 60 k a year and left their children to suffer the grief of their loss.

    That just may enlighten you to real pain.

  41. bearsstillsuck says: Nov 19, 2011 6:11 PM

    I wonder how his opinion would change if he went through all that physical abuse and didn’t make as much money. its a good thing he didn’t join the military.

  42. madmax80 says: Nov 19, 2011 6:12 PM

    They should make NFL players sign some sort of paper saying that they are willing to do this in exchange for, say, millions of dollars.

    Hmmmmm. . . . .

  43. towniesman says: Nov 19, 2011 6:13 PM

    Typical idiot Jet

  44. linemoose1 says: Nov 19, 2011 6:13 PM

    Yeah must ppl work at thankless job there whole lives making less then millions to retire at 60 or 65 with some piss poor retirement little to no healthy benefits…..o feel so bad for u poor millionaires who get paid to stay in shape retire around 40 or younger….o n also probably got a free education u didnt take advantage of …..yeah bite jenkins lost my respect ….not that it probably matters to u…DiCKhead!!!!!

  45. snarkzilla says: Nov 19, 2011 6:13 PM

    Here’s part of what KJ said, via the link: “I can’t blame anybody for my death. I made the choice to play football. I made the choice to walk through the concussions. I could have stopped. I could have said, my head hurts. It was my choice, as a man. We consider football a gladiator sport because we understand you’re going to get hurt. You’re putting your life on the line. You might not die now, like in an old Roman arena, but 5, 10 years down the road, you could. You know that. I wouldn’t change anything.”

    It usually pays to read the source before commenting.

  46. scytherius says: Nov 19, 2011 6:14 PM

    i3addog says: Nov 19, 2011 5:33 PM

    Ever been so broke that you’d crash your car on purpose if it meant you could eat ? Yup, sure, Football can be brutal but if you have half a brain the money you get from one contract can set you up for life.

    To play is a choice, nobody put a gun to your head.

    ================================

    Fortunately, sometimes in life, blithering ignorance exposes itself for all to see.

    Not only is that not what he said, you proved his point. He said he wouldn’t change a thing. He was telling us what it was like, that is all. But just another pasty, tin plated, self appointed deni-god rolls around in his easy chair with his chips and, like Caligula, passes judgment on a man.

    Move along people. That’s not a man with those bag of chips, it’s a feckless coward. Nothing to see here.

  47. jaymc1988 says: Nov 19, 2011 6:14 PM

    oh yah ur right..must be hell making millions of dollars for a game. u play once a week!. when regular people get 10 dollars an hr for 8 hours a day per week working LOL.. yah ur right. moron

    ps we do know the dangers and thats why we decide not 2 play the game. bec health is more important

    sooo.. if u decide u want the millions to play football we shouldnt hear one word out of ur mouth about the struggles bec im sure by friday wen u see that check those aches and pains..dissappear LOL..again i repeat..moron

  48. linemoose1 says: Nov 19, 2011 6:16 PM

    Yeah must ppl work at thankless job there whole lives making less then millions to retire at 60 or 65 with some piss poor retirement little to no healthy benefits…..o feel so bad for u poor millionaires who get paid to stay in shape retire around 40 or younger….o n also probably got a free education u didnt take advantage of …..yeah bite me jenkins lost my respect ….not that it probably matters to u…DiCKhead!!!!!

  49. plum13sec says: Nov 19, 2011 6:17 PM

    To commenters on here saying ‘too bad he chose to do it’ He says that, in the article.

    Just because you choose to do something does not mean it is not hell.

    but his hell is alot better than the soldier getting killed for damn near minimum wage

  50. pflynn20 says: Nov 19, 2011 6:17 PM

    Try 10 years in the Marine Corps. Two tours in Afganistan, two tours in Iraq and then come then come cry to me about hell. I loved every minute of it. Athletes are the biggest crybabies in the world…

  51. slickzmoney says: Nov 19, 2011 6:17 PM

    You mean the NFL isn’t like playing Madden? All these years and I never knew.

  52. snarkzilla says: Nov 19, 2011 6:17 PM

    >This moron should be banned from speaking

    He was being interviewed, not putting on a dog and pony show. Last I checked people don’t lose their First Amendment rights because other people disapprove of what they say.

  53. mizzouram says: Nov 19, 2011 6:21 PM

    All you guys crying “Well, I would do that for a million dollars” are morons. It continues to amaze how much people fail to realize they don’t know what they don’t know.

    All of you idiots would urinate yourselves if you saw a guys like Steven Jackson or Patrick Willis running at you full steam. Don’t kid yourselves.

    The athletes in the NFL play with a level of violence that you people can’t fathom. And for you to sit on the couch and describe these guys as crybabies is laughable.

    No respect.

  54. vanmorrissey says: Nov 19, 2011 6:23 PM

    Well, if he’s so smart, he played football in High School, then college, so he sure as hell knew what it would be like in the NFL. Life’s a bitch, yeah, but you made that choice and you knew what it was like going in. Sorry, if you’re looking for pity you ain’t getting it here. Lots of people in this world have gone through a lot worse to make a lot less. Ask the families of men who have died in mines what their life was like not knowing if their father or husband would come home that day. Or those in the military, or police or firefighters. Plus, as a highly paid player, you’r getting the best of medical care and treatment every day. Can’t have it both ways Kris, sorry.

  55. rugdog100 says: Nov 19, 2011 6:24 PM

    Playing in Green Bay is Hell.

  56. wingt74 says: Nov 19, 2011 6:24 PM

    Hell? You have no clue Kris you pos. Try a real world job that is physically and mentally demanding and pays crap. Now have bills and kids. Now have a back injury and be out of work loose your home and not have enough money to take your kid to the dr. Wake the Fawk up moron

  57. lilrob10201 says: Nov 19, 2011 6:25 PM

    The NFL is not hell.I would say that the NFL would be hell if players are making 30-45 thousand dollars a year instead of making that per quarter you play.

  58. wvugrad00 says: Nov 19, 2011 6:27 PM

    Too all those saying any fan would take the cash over health remember these are the same people dropping dead at 65 or younger from the abuse they took from the NFL.

  59. rcali says: Nov 19, 2011 6:31 PM

    Open mouth, insert foot. He must have learned that from Rex.

  60. wilddeuce03 says: Nov 19, 2011 6:40 PM

    I’ve spent 14 years in the Army. 5 deployments to Iraq. I’ve had friends KILLED!!! Yep, I VOLUNTEERED for it and love every minute of it and don’t b!tch about the money or people not appreciating me for it. That’s not why I did it. I did it, and still do because I love it.

  61. wegonnadoitbaby says: Nov 19, 2011 6:46 PM

    If you have not clicked on the hyper-link and read the article you should. It’s a very interesting read. I didn’t get the sense that he was crying or whining…he seems to have a great grasp of how blessed he was to play the game…but instead of the typical drivel full of Knute Rockne cliches, he tried to verbalize the physical impact of the game. Detailing the pain and sacrifice of the body the game requires does not make him a crybaby. Just because he made big money does not mean he can’t speak about the ramifications the game has to players health…especially when he says he would do it all again.

    Great read. Thanks PFT for linking it. I would have never seen it otherwise.

  62. duanemccoy says: Nov 19, 2011 6:48 PM

    Madden is hell!

  63. rajbais says: Nov 19, 2011 6:52 PM

    Kris Jenkins is an obese turd!!!! Ocho and T.O. haven’t done such things this year!!!

    Just because they’re portrayed as “too cool for school” it doesn’t make this fat, man-boobed sloth angelic either!!!!

    This fat idiot needed $500,000 workout bonuses to jiggle less!!!! You wanna be a respected football critic stop making snap judgements about people and start working without the sake of money!!! If he was ripped for this by other players he’d cry on Boomer Esaison’s shoulders!!!!

  64. discosucs2005 says: Nov 19, 2011 6:52 PM

    Health > Money

  65. hehateu says: Nov 19, 2011 6:52 PM

    Wow-their are some sensitive lil girls here. All he said was that the sport is physically taxing, which is indisputable . Chill out, have a drink, beat your wife and kids or whatever u need to do feel strong again

  66. steelerhypocrite says: Nov 19, 2011 6:57 PM

    I thought it was just like Madden…sitting there drinking Mountain Dew’s and eating Cheetos…

  67. hghost33 says: Nov 19, 2011 6:57 PM

    Reminds of a song-called Joy and Pain!

  68. stubbyjones says: Nov 19, 2011 7:03 PM

    So is homelessness…

  69. freewayjim says: Nov 19, 2011 7:04 PM

    I’m betting that the vast majority NFL players could not earn 1/10th of their annual salary in the real world.

    Yes it’s a brutal game that in many cases will shorten your life but it’s all about choices and last time I checked nobody forced anyone to play football at the highest level, these guys WANT to play or they don’t even get to the NFL and they get paid well in the process so please forgive me if I fail to have any sympathy for Mr. Jenkins.

    Life is all about trade-offs.

  70. qball59 says: Nov 19, 2011 7:04 PM

    To all the self-righteous working class heroes who’ve taken a break from wallowing in self-pity to post here about how tough their jobs are:

    You, too, make a choice every day you get up and go to work at your self-described dead end jobs. If you don’t like your lives, then get of your dead a**es and go make something of yourselves. There are many, many NFL players who rose from horrific childhood circumstances to become successful in their chosen profession. If you can’t achieve the level of success you want in life, you have nobody to blame but yourselves.

  71. blackbug99 says: Nov 19, 2011 7:05 PM

    Yeah, right, Kris. We get it. The NFL is harder than it looks. There’s danger and pain. Now, explain that to those 17-30 something year olds doing a night launch/recovery off a carrier, or riding a storm at sea. Or on patrol where while you think you’re doing good, every one hates and tries to kill you. Yeah, Kris, the NFL is soooooo tough. I guess that comparison is tough for you though. They sign and serve…there’s no agents or negotiations. Instead of making it rain. They might get a free beer in uniform on the way home…Tough life there, Kris!

  72. thridandlong says: Nov 19, 2011 7:06 PM

    pflynn20says:

    Nov 19, 2011 6:17 PM

    Try 10 years in the Marine Corps. Two tours in Afganistan, two tours in Iraq and then come then come cry to me about hell. I loved every minute of it. Athletes are the biggest crybabies in the world…

    —————————————–

    Thanks for you service, appreciate it.

    Now that’s something worth talking about !!

  73. redskinsfreak91 says: Nov 19, 2011 7:09 PM

    Notice that most players that go down with injuries are the ones in the trenches torn acls mcls pcls and broken foots i have a strong respect for all linemen weather it be offensive or defensive.

  74. snarkzilla says: Nov 19, 2011 7:10 PM

    >we shouldnt hear one word out of ur mouth about the struggles bec im sure by friday wen u see that check those aches and pains..dissappear LOL..again i repeat..moron

    “moron” is an appropriate way to sign this.

  75. nflfan1326 says: Nov 19, 2011 7:14 PM

    Is he getting PR advice from Adrian Peterson? First off Hell is for dead people. Second, and I don’t mean to sound like those “occupy” folks but Kris you’re the 1% living in the best nation in the world. Get over it.

  76. gametime52 says: Nov 19, 2011 7:19 PM

    Join the Marines if the NFL is to much hell. (sarcasm)

  77. howley1 says: Nov 19, 2011 7:23 PM

    Jenkins should try hot tar roofing or concrete work 6 days a week for a year and find out what real work is all about.

  78. hardmike57 says: Nov 19, 2011 7:27 PM

    Seems like it would be easier to tolerate on a winning team. I bet football IS hell for the players on a team like Indianiapolis.(!) 0-10, season’s in flames, and you still have six weeks of practices, Your coaching staff( who must be worrying about their sweet asses & NOT in the best of moods!), and the contempt of the media & fans to endure. You’re beat up, the other teams are playing like hell against you because they SURE don’t want to be the first team to lose to your sorry butt….. Yeah, I could see it.

  79. upyoursnfu says: Nov 19, 2011 7:29 PM

    Cry me a river….while you get paid millions.

  80. thejuddstir says: Nov 19, 2011 7:30 PM

    Jenkins played football the way it should be played…..throwback football when it was a sport instead of the entertainment it has become. The NFL has become like “professional wrasslin'”, pure entertainment that’s phoney but still requires a person to look like an athlete…and, pro wrasslers get injured too, LOL. No way wr’s of today get their stats if they played against someone like Jack “the Assassin” Tatum, one hit from Dick Butkus and someone like CJ K500 doesn’t play another down, Mean Joe Greene would love to rip the skirt off of someone like A. Rodgers, Jack Lambert drank a beer before a game instead of taking HGH like C. Matthews. Players back then played with broken bones, today they sit out 2 wks with a broken fingernail. Players played with a single bar helmet and now the QB’s need a microphone in their helmet to tell them what the hell to do, I’m sure Johnny Unitas would’ve loved that. I know many fans like the offense but how difficult is it to throw to a wr that isn’t allowed to have a defensive back within breathing distance?

  81. CKL says: Nov 19, 2011 7:36 PM

    Most NFL players work very, very hard, I have no doubt about that. I don’t begrudge them their paychecks because they’re paid what people are willing to pay them.

    That said, Jenkins created his own problems in Carolina for one, by becoming an alcoholic and getting all fat and out of shape after his first season ending injury in 04. It was disappointing that he didn’t really take responsibility for his contributions to his problems.

    I also don’t get his complaint about feeling he can’t stand up and say he’s proud to be union. What were most of these guys doing during the lockout but basically saying just that every time they spoke?

    In conclusion, Cullen Jenkins>>>>Kris Jenkins.

  82. ducesblackshirt says: Nov 19, 2011 7:40 PM

    Wahhhhhh, I made millions playing football, fans are stupid, I’ll be bankrupt soon, wahhhhhhh!

  83. ruggerlad says: Nov 19, 2011 7:45 PM

    Playing in the NFL would be a dream. I still play but don’t get paid. My body is falling apart, I have had many concussions but I love the game. Don’t tell us the NFL is hell just because you were not in love with the game. You were talented but just played for the fat pay check. You said yourself you would do it all again and that says it all.
    Suck it up princess!

  84. 24chef says: Nov 19, 2011 7:46 PM

    Did any of you even bother to read the article? All he’s trying to do is give perspective of what its like to be a football player in the trenches. Yes he’s made tons money doing it, but as he explains, his body is paying the price with herniated discs, multiple knee injuries and near permanent pain, mind fogginess and numbness on his entire left side . Add the fact that he’s a 400lb dude, he knows his life span could be short. But at the end of the day, he wouldn’t change a thing.

    Jeez, how about not getting all butt hurt when jumping to conclusions….

  85. fnmean1 says: Nov 19, 2011 7:49 PM

    I guess haters are going to hate.Football players might retire early but they also DIE young.If they are lucky enough not to die young they have crippling side effects from playing.

    All those who say nobody forces them to play are right but nobody forces them to work crappy jobs they hate either.

  86. trbowman says: Nov 19, 2011 7:50 PM

    Realest talk I’ve ever heard, hat tip to Kris Jenkins.

  87. bigshirk says: Nov 19, 2011 7:52 PM

    No One is Making Them Play

  88. mofo7 says: Nov 19, 2011 7:54 PM

    So NFL players are like that guy from Office Space who retired happily crippled after being hit by a car.

    But some perspective please. A lot of people work jobs that tear up their bodies – and just to make ends meet. Military, firefighters, cops, roofers, contractors, etc.

    Sure it’s a unique style of a brutal “10 years if you’re lucky” lifestyle, but don’t think you are some exclusive member of that kind of club, Jenkins. You got to go home to your six bedroom with a hot tub after every hard day.

  89. adenaguy says: Nov 19, 2011 7:55 PM

    Hey mizzouram I wouldn’t have a problem with
    dealing with Steven Jackson or Patrick Willis if
    I was a giant genetic freak like Kris Jenkins.
    Facts are facts. Jenkins is whining but what is
    he, like 35? He’ll ever have to work another day
    in his fat life. All bs, NFL players like him have
    no clue.

  90. 4512dawg4512 says: Nov 19, 2011 8:04 PM

    I dont think I would have tossed Terrell Owens into that convo. He’s one of the toughest and most physical WR’s to ever play the game

  91. brewdogg says: Nov 19, 2011 8:05 PM

    Every morning when I wake up I stand on one foot for about five minutes and slowly ease down on the ankle that never healed right until I become re-accustomed to the pain. After about an hour of driving I need to get out and straighten my legs because my knees can’t take the pain. Those beds that are supposed to alleviate the back pain don’t work for me, and my shoulders don’t have much for range of motion these days. I’m only 32, and I never got paid to play, nor did I get a free education for it (I was a walk-on). And I would do it all over again too.

    Jenkins was a lineman, and you won’t find a lineman at any level who doesn’t feel the same way. Heck, my son is 12, and he’s even like that. I asked him once if he knew that he was going to break his leg in a given season, would he play that year. he didn’t even hesitate before saying yes. The money is nice for them, but if you think that is the motivating factor for most of these guys, I’d say you’re wrong. It can’t be explained, but those who have played know the feeling, that they would do anything for one more day of having pads on.

    We know that policemen, firemen, miners, military personnel, and a host of other occupations are dangerous and hard on the body as well. But I don’t hear near this much outrage when one of the people in these professions decides to share the details of what they go through with those who have never done those jobs. He’s not looking for sympathy, just trying to explain what it feels like to be out there playing at the highest level, with the biggest, strongest, and nastiest men in that profession. Stop judging him by cut-out quotes and realize that he feels privileged, not only for the opportunity to make a lot of money doing what he loves, but simply for being able to do that which he loves for so much longer than most of the people who share his love for the game.

  92. TheWizard says: Nov 19, 2011 8:08 PM

    I’m sick of all the moaning from pro football players.

    Tell it to the guys in the two World Wars that went off and fought and died before they saw their 23rd birthday.

    Get some perspective.

  93. lukecage668 says: Nov 19, 2011 8:09 PM

    Not whinning how hard his job was in the NFL, but it does sound a little insensative to people that will never come close to what he’s made.

  94. snarkzilla says: Nov 19, 2011 8:21 PM

    >All bs, NFL players like him have
    no clue.

    My guess is that he has a better clue than you do about what he’s gone through and what more he’ll pay for it healthwise than you do.

    It’d be better to pay NFL players $12 an hour and screw ‘em after they can’t play any longer? I hope whatever team you cheer for adopts that policy.

  95. philtration says: Nov 19, 2011 8:30 PM

    Awwww……

    I will pause for a moment of silence for all the NFL millionaires when I start work Monday morning.

  96. mizzouram says: Nov 19, 2011 8:30 PM

    adenaguy says: Nov 19, 2011 7:55 PM

    Hey mizzouram I wouldn’t have a problem with
    dealing with Steven Jackson or Patrick Willis if
    I was a giant genetic freak like Kris Jenkins.
    Facts are facts. Jenkins is whining but what is
    he, like 35? He’ll ever have to work another day
    in his fat life. All bs, NFL players like him have
    no clue.
    —————————————————-
    They have a much better idea of the common man’s problems rather than we do thiers.

    Most of these guys didn’t even grow up in middle class homes so they’ve at least seen what its like to be on have no money.

    Just because you make a lot of money doesn’t mean its fun getting your fifth concussion or shredding his hamstrings.

    Would they change places with us? Probably not. But that doesn’t give people the right to disrespect the sacrifices they make so we can be entertained for 21 Sundays out of the year.

  97. 3yrsnfl says: Nov 19, 2011 8:52 PM

    One point: Most of you don’t know how to read.

    Second point: It takes alot of work to be a good HS player. It takes more work to be a good college player. The best players in the NFL are the hardest workers. It is a job. It takes talent and hard work to get to the top of your profession.

    Alot of people blessed with the physical tools don’t have the work ethic to make in in this business. There are only 1700 jobs available in this field. If you think you got what it takes, go fill out an application.

    Most of you didn’t have the talent or work ethic to start on your HS team. That is why you have a “real” job. Some of you didn’t graduate HS, so you joined the service… And were put on the front lines. We’re not gonna let our best and brightest get shot at.

  98. effthaeffinjetsgofins says: Nov 19, 2011 8:57 PM

    helloreallly says:
    Nov 19, 2011 5:47 PM
    you can’t really compare football to a car crash. you have the choice to hurt yourself playing a game. don’t have a choice when you get hit by a car.

     ———————————-

    You chose to go near a street or drive a car and the risks inherent therein.

  99. howley1 says: Nov 19, 2011 9:39 PM

    you can’t really compare football to a car crash. you have the choice to hurt yourself playing a game. don’t have a choice when you get hit by a car.

    ———————————-

    You chose to go near a street or drive a car and the risks inherent therein.

    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

    Difference being you WILL get hit playing football. The chances of getting in a car wreck are pretty small. Oh and you’ll never see anybody literally decapitated by a football tackle.

  100. blackcatnfl says: Nov 19, 2011 9:42 PM

    I don’t get all the vitriol in these comments. Sure, players make a lot of money. But if I gave you $1 million dollars and then clubbed you with a bat 50 times, would you really be all that happy about it?

    Its amazing that people think just because players make a lot of money, that is the end-all-be-all and they shouldn’t have any reason to ever complain about anything. I know lots of people who make a lot of money in their jobs, and that doesn’t stop them from complaining all the time.

  101. snarkzilla says: Nov 19, 2011 9:50 PM

    >It’s hell having millions of dollars, apparently.

    Yeah, there you go. That’s not what he was talking about but so what? Good luck to you bulking up and acquiring skills that are light years beyond what you have now so you can put yourself in harm’s way numerous times every workday. That is, if you’re lucky enough to get the opportunity and then manage to earn your way into it more than all the others who are trying to get there.

  102. Ba'al from www.Cowboys-Forum.com says: Nov 19, 2011 10:15 PM

    KJ should play just 1 season in the AFL where they only make $250-$400 a game, now thats hell.

  103. huejackson says: Nov 19, 2011 10:15 PM

    waaahhhhhhh

    I play a game for a living and make millions and millions of dollars waaahhhhh Nobody understands
    Seriously I will wear pads and play football and make millions of dollars anytime over my job…
    Please Jenkins where do I sign…..
    You play a game.. 10 year olds play the same game and you get paid more than the president of the USA..
    Im sure a coal worker would love to trade jobs for a day or even a teacher.. Well 99% of the NFL players could not trade that job, most of them can not even speak, “Yo dog I be goin to get dat new diamon wach I be rockin dat all year when I not play ball”

  104. rajbais says: Nov 19, 2011 10:20 PM

    Kris Jenkins is a pig!!!!

    He needed cash to stay in shape, but (he still) ate too much fried chicken to do so!!!

    Pardon the non-NFL note, but as Charles Barkley once said “all those guys who kiss up to the media, they’re jackasses!!! Most of the guys that people think are bad are usually good guys!!!”

  105. huejackson says: Nov 19, 2011 10:24 PM

    fnmean1 says: Nov 19, 2011 7:49 PM

    I guess haters are going to hate.Football players might retire early but they also DIE young.If they are lucky enough not to die young they have crippling side effects from playing.

    All those who say nobody forces them to play are right but nobody forces them to work crappy jobs they hate either.
    —————————————————
    They die young cause they party to hard or get shot when they try to go back to the ghetto…
    And yes alot of people are forced to have crappy jobs to support their family’s.. You obviously do not work
    These NFL players are set for life (if they have any intelligence as soon as they sign that rookie contract.
    Most smart people can retire with 2 million dollars and these rookies sometimes get what 5-10 million just to sign?
    They play football cause they LIKE football, People dont work at crappy jobs cause they LIKE to work at them they work at them cause they have to.
    This guy acts like he was in iraq, he was playing a GAME..A GAME! and he was being paid millions! He is just trying to get in the news again and trying to get a gig on TV, I’m sure his agent told him to say this so it will create buzz…
    I guess it worked, Now go work for ESPN and trash the Raiders..You must be good at that to get the job there..
    By the way Jenkins was never a great player, he was a below average player who will never be in the Hall of Fame

  106. christopher525 says: Nov 19, 2011 10:32 PM

    I’m going to take the unpopular stance and side with Jenkins on this issue. Yes, he signed a contract to play “a game” and it was his choice. Yes he made millions, and yes he retired after just 10 years of work. The flip side is, what were his choices beyond signing up to play this “game?” A lot of times a player comes from a very bad place and makes it, or they’re average at best in “the real world.” Also, those millions are great, until you need health insurance. The premiums for a former player, if even existing, will be astronomical. Lastly, the retired in 10 years point. I started working retail at 17, if you told me then that I could be retired and not HAVE to work again a decade later, but my body would take so much abuse in that decade that I would be in the shell of a 27 year old, with problems akin to a 60 year old physically, I would pass 10 out of 10 times.

  107. howiehandles says: Nov 19, 2011 10:37 PM

    “One point: Most of you don’t know how to read.

    Second point: It takes alot of work to be a good HS player. It takes more work to be a good college player. The best players in the NFL are the hardest workers. It is a job. It takes talent and hard work to get to the top of your profession.

    Alot of people blessed with the physical tools don’t have the work ethic to make in in this business. There are only 1700 jobs available in this field. If you think you got what it takes, go fill out an application.

    Most of you didn’t have the talent or work ethic to start on your HS team. That is why you have a “real” job. Some of you didn’t graduate HS, so you joined the service… And were put on the front lines. We’re not gonna let our best and brightest get shot at.”

    ———–

    By that logic, you must have been shot at quite a bit.

    What’s funny about your post, is you seem to believe yourself to be an intellectual of some sort, but just come off like a clown.

    “One point, Second point?” Shouldn’t it be First point, second point?

    Why do you assume that those who don’t graduate HS join the service? Do you realize that you actually need to have graduated to join the military, or the minimum a G.E.D., and a clean record?

    And for the record, it takes quite a bit of hard work, and BALLS, to make it in the military. Boo who, you played HS ball, college ball, or even in the pros. Go into combat, and you tell me how difficult football is.

    Based on your logic, and your grammar, I’d guess that you didn’t graduate HS, and were rejected by the military because of it.

    If the NFL is ruining your life, then choose a different profession. That’s the life he chose, in spite of potential health issues, because of the lifestyle and pay. I have no sympathy for him, but I do have sympathy for whichever school system failed you.

  108. howiehandles says: Nov 19, 2011 10:39 PM

    “We’re not gonna let our best and brightest get shot at.”

    —-

    You do realize there isn’t a draft, right? And the NFL isn’t an example of the brightest.

  109. dd393 says: Nov 19, 2011 10:57 PM

    Well paid hell.

  110. tonymission says: Nov 19, 2011 11:38 PM

    Im 31 (not even technically old) and can give you a list of big time problems with my body– one needing a $30k surgery that i cant afford so I live with intense pain. I didn’t play professional sports but I’ve made a lot of choices over the years that have contributed to where I’m at. KJ is 35 and his body is messed up? Imagine that. Do anything besides sit in an office all day and life catches up to all of us.

    I’d like a little more pain for 10x my paycheck (and good insurance).

  111. snarkzilla says: Nov 20, 2011 12:05 AM

    I don’t get the bitterness that’s shot throughout these comments. The guy isn’t asking for sympathy or portraying himself as someone to be pitied. Quite the contrary. It’s a candid description. He wouldn’t have made it 10 years in the NFL – whether you consider him to have been a good or less than good player – unless he had skills that 99.9% of the population doesn’t have and worked his butt off through physical pain with no guarantee that it would continue. If someone making special money at that pisses you off, stop watching, stop buying merchandise, just stop. Because otherwise you’re supporting it.

  112. shaggytoodle says: Nov 20, 2011 12:05 AM

    Anytime your job consists of using a “ball” of sorts and your able to get a pay check for it.

    Your overpaid.

  113. patriotera says: Nov 20, 2011 12:12 AM

    “glory is fleeting but obscurity is forever”… and the health care plan sucks.

  114. Deb says: Nov 20, 2011 12:22 AM

    “I get tired of seeing all these polished idiots,” Jenkins said. “Chad Ochocinco. Terrell Owens. Go on Twitter and brag about how pretty your stomach muscles look. What happened to football?”

    It’s a little long, but it would still make a great bumper sticker.

  115. gmen1987 says: Nov 20, 2011 12:39 AM

    Jenkins is right. Many NFL fans are completely clueless about many things about football.

  116. staffordsyear says: Nov 20, 2011 12:41 AM

    People who hate suh and think the lions are dirty should give this a read.

  117. hedphurst says: Nov 20, 2011 1:23 AM

    “Waaaahh! I sacrificed my physical well-being for millions of dollars playing a game I love! The fans who made it possible for me to make a crazy living and retire before growing gray hair are stupid and mean. Why won’t they respect me? I’m gonna spew word vomit in the press to see if I can force them to like me and feel sorry for me.”

    Hey, Kris – maybe the fans DO get it, and that’s why they’re willing to pay a couple hundred bucks every Sunday during the season to see NFL players crash into each other, instead of putting their own bodies through that “hell.” Maybe it’s the players who don’t get it, and that’s why so many squander their millions and end up bankrupt or selling cars with a limp, instead of saving their money, shutting their mouths, and planning for their futures after their playing careers.

  118. briang123 says: Nov 20, 2011 1:24 AM

    Jenkins must be a Republican. No one whines like they do about how hard their life is, yet they always ignore how much money they have.

  119. buffalodiehard says: Nov 20, 2011 1:28 AM

    Wow, we want our talking head former players to speak their mind. We hate PC. Then one lets us inside their world and people start screaming about whatever job they have and sacrifices they made and how awful Kris Jenkins is. Last I checked when you’re one of about a thousand people on the planet who do what you do in a $6 Billion industry you get paid well. Bless everyone who makes massive sacrifices in their own lives but we need a little perspective. For about 20 Sundays a year we all get a little slice of heaven and I for one appreciate that many of these players do this knowing some of them will, in fact, die early because of it.

  120. souldogdave says: Nov 20, 2011 3:31 AM

    It could’ve been worse, he could be a musician. The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side…

  121. goawayeverybody says: Nov 20, 2011 4:58 AM

    It seems like some teams care more than others about concussions. One thing I have noticed is that teams like the Lions and Saints are more cautious about letting players take the field after a concussion whereas teams like the Eagles don’t seem to care all that much. I could be wrong it’s just something I noticed.

  122. ravefan96 says: Nov 20, 2011 5:42 AM

    Kris, you are the clueless one. I have been beating my body up for years in the cold, the hot and when I had no business going to work with 2 blown knees, rotator cuffs etc. knowing I’d be off too long to get surgery with no benefits and I have hated it. No I/R for me nor a care from my employer. Did I mention No pot at the end of the rainbow clueless one ?
    The reason the NFL is so popular and you are paid tons with no financial worries the rest of your life is the violence and the nature of the sport. Sorry I love football and I wish my pain was in your shoes instead of my pain ridden broken down poor body. Bet you dont have to worry about paying your rent. Pathetic !

  123. raider316 says: Nov 20, 2011 7:24 AM

    ……and “nobody cared.”

    You’re right Kris. I don’t!

  124. rugdaniels says: Nov 20, 2011 8:02 AM

    The guy’s right. It seems like playing pro football for any significant period of time takes years off one’s life. Many of these guys don’t make it to 60.

    Jenkins doesn’t seem to be whining here, it sounds like he’s considering the ultimate price he’s going to end up paying for getting the chance to play in the NFL for a decade.

    Most fans realizer what these guys put themselves through. That’s one of the reasons the NFL is the most popular American sport. Jenkins is selling the fans short by telling them they dont’ have a clue.

  125. theytukrjobs says: Nov 20, 2011 8:15 AM

    We all die someday. I doubt most NFL players regret doing it.

    But he probably has a point in there somewhere. These guys endure a lot of pain day to day. And money is a lot like air. If you don’t have it, it means everything. But if you do have it it doesn’t necessarily mean life is superawesome.

    People over-envy rich folks. That is our society. If you want to know how happy an NFL player is then just imagine what you’d feel if you were playing football on TV, getting beaten and broken weekly, and getting all the ass you could imagine. Ignore the money part.

  126. billyhoyle4real says: Nov 20, 2011 9:07 AM

    He didn’t mind the free scholarship he got, he didn’t mind cashing game checks or bonus checks. But he wants to tell the middle class who pay to attend these GAMES how hard it is to work 16 weeks a year for millions. Total garbage. I don’t care about your concussions either or about your family, you sir are a whiny little bitch, go count tour money dumbass.

  127. packersrule12 says: Nov 20, 2011 9:40 AM

    Hell? You no what hell is? Is when you take a Monday night off of work and lose the 100 bucks pay to watch your favorite team play and they get beat, now that’s hell.

  128. dmarek says: Nov 20, 2011 9:49 AM

    I’d like to hear Jim Leonhard’s (#36) take on taking hits from guys the size of Jenkins.

  129. nysaysbringit says: Nov 20, 2011 10:09 AM

    In 1970 I inlisted in the army ,because I was going to get drafted anyway. If I inlisted then I would have more control over where I was sent …or at least I thought! Six months later I wound up in Vietnam with some of the last combat soliers to be sent there. Three days later we were ambushed in the jungle while trying to set up a forward listening post. Words cannot describe that first time. I do remember having to wipe something off my face and out of my eyes during the fight. When it was over..I realized it was my buddies brains and blood. Over the following 8 months I killed 16 people In Vietnam ..some armed ..some not.
    I spent the next 31 yrs. inside a Vodka bottle trying to drown the guilt,fear and trauma of it all. Our personal “hells” are constructed by our own choices as well as our sucesses. But thanks Kris for sharing yours in an honest way. I thought it was candid and refreshing. We can only relate to each others ‘hells” and not compare them.

  130. buffaloniner says: Nov 20, 2011 10:18 AM

    10 time worse than a car crash huh? … and the fans are the ones with no clue. Ok.

  131. obamablowz says: Nov 20, 2011 10:28 AM

    Try being a corrections officer idiot

  132. briggsisbrokeagain says: Nov 20, 2011 10:29 AM

    He should have been the soda jerk he was trained for.

  133. 1historian says: Nov 20, 2011 11:37 AM

    FYI – I am an old fart.

    50 years ago when I lived near Baltimore and idolized the BALTIMORE COLTS there were numerous off season stories in the Baltimore Sun about team members having to find off-season jobs to make ends meet. That was probably true of other pro sports too.

    Anybody recognize the name ‘Lou Brock’?

    briang123 – your 1:24 a.m. – According to the Boston Herald of November 26, 2010 John Kerry has a personal fortune of $239,000,000.

    keep those ‘tough guy from cyberspace’ posts coming folks.

    gotta walk the dog

  134. rajbais says: Nov 21, 2011 12:15 AM

    T.O. and Ochocinco are polished idiots??? They’re anything but those!!!!!! Oh yeah!!!!! T.O. is so polished when he rips Cris Carter for doing cocaine and Rodney Harrison for HGH on TWITTER!!! Ochocinco is so polished when he rips Colin Cowherd for hating black athletes!!!!

    Again, Jenkins is sucking up to the media, passing himself off as holier than thou, and LYING about those two!!!!!

    If he’s sucking up to the point where he will LIE about those two and pass himself off as hardworking when he needed $500,000 workout bonuses to stay in shape, then he needs to shut up!!!! I hope T.O. and Ochocinco kick him in the knees because they’ll tear apart due to his lack of conditioning anyways; plus it’ll cause him to be what he currently is, a fat crybaby!!!!

  135. waynefontes says: Nov 22, 2011 9:12 AM

    An interesting article for anyone who bothers to read it.

  136. projectshadow316 says: Nov 22, 2011 2:00 PM

    Cry me a river. It sucks that you got injured and all of that, but you know damn well what you were signing up for. Any true fan of the NFL would love to play even so much as one game. I for one would love that, and take every bone-jarring hit with a smile on my face, despite the fact I’m not exactly built for that kind of abuse. Be happy you got to do something you love and get paid well for it.

  137. sullijo1 says: Nov 23, 2011 3:45 PM

    In a country with 18% unemployment (yes, that’s the real number when they add the people that stopped looking for work), I’m having a hard time feeling sorry for this guy.

    Joke

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