Jim Brown wants the NFL to be more like NASCAR.
Brown, the former Browns running back who’s regarded by many football historians as the greatest player in the history of the sport, says that NASCAR has been quicker to adopt changes to make its sport safer than the NFL has. Brown would like football to follow in the footsteps of auto racing in that respect.
“We are way behind,” Brown told Terry Blount of ESPN.com. “NASCAR stepped up their safety concepts, and I think the drivers feel NASCAR is doing everything that can be done. So we are a little behind NASCAR in that respect. Someone in NASCAR realized there were certain things that could be done to make it safer. The same thing has to happen in football. It’s two different sports, but you want to make sure it’s as safe as you can make it.”
NASCAR has taken steps like installing safer walls at tracks, required drivers to use head and neck restraints and redesigned cars to make them drivers safer in crashes. Brown thinks the NFL is a step behind NASCAR.
“This is the first time [the NFL] has really taken the safety situation seriously,” Brown said. “Part of that was forced on them because of the concussion lawsuits, but I think when we come out of this we’ll have a much safer game without taking away from the impact of the game.”
For his own part, the 77-year-old Brown says he’s doing fine and doesn’t have any health problems that he attributes to his playing career.
“I would be dishonest to say I was suffering from anything,” Brown said.
But Brown still hopes the NFL can do more to ensure that other players stay healthy long into retirement.