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.”