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Staubach doing well at 71, despite career-ending concussions

Staubach Getty Images

One of the first players in NFL history to quit the game because of concussions says he’s doing well and has no interest in joining the lawsuit against the league.

Roger Staubach, the Hall of Fame Cowboys quarterback, retired from football after the 1979 season because he had suffered his 19th and 20th career concussions that year. But Staubach told USA Today after the concussion lawsuit settlement was reached on Thursday that he never considered joining the lawsuit. Staubach says he’s doing great at age 71 and doesn’t believe that the NFL misled players about the risks associated with brain damage suffered on the football field.

I don’t think the NFL initially tried to hide the fact that you might have dementia one day because you’ve had a concussion,” Staubach said. “The players that are in the middle of the lawsuit, they feel differently. I just have stayed out of it because I don’t think anyone intentionally tried to deceive me.”

Staubach said he hopes the settlement is the best result for all involved, even as he expressed some skepticism about whether all 4,500 of the players who joined the suit really do have symptoms of brain damage. Staubach said he believes some players may hear about the lawsuit and “jump into it just to jump into it,” and he wanted no part of that.

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31 Responses to “Staubach doing well at 71, despite career-ending concussions”
  1. onlysane1intheroom says: Aug 29, 2013 4:20 PM

    Old school – a man of integrity.

  2. honkeyt says: Aug 29, 2013 4:20 PM

    All Class.

  3. trollhammer20 says: Aug 29, 2013 4:22 PM

    No fan of the Dallas Cowboys, but, Roger was always a class act.

  4. antalicus says: Aug 29, 2013 4:24 PM

    Something tells me a bunch of former players that may have played 1 down in the league and are currently working at McDonalds just got a pay day off this settlement.

  5. bobzilla1001 says: Aug 29, 2013 4:27 PM

    Staubach is an honorable and principled man. There’s no doubt in my mind that 99.9 percent of the former players who sued the league are frauds. It’s a shame they were able to win a civil suit without having to show proof they were actually entitled to a settlement.

  6. Bob says: Aug 29, 2013 4:29 PM

    “No fan of the Dallas Cowboys, but, Roger was always a class act.”

    I echo both parts of that sentiment. I applaud Roger for not blaming someone else for a game he decided to play.

    If you watch football and/or play football, it shouldn’t take you long to figure out that you can get hurt playing the game. Common sense would tell you that if two people knock heads, even accidentally, you might suffer a head injury. I don’t see why the NFL needs to point that out to anyone.

  7. minnesoulja says: Aug 29, 2013 4:34 PM

    As a Vikings fan born in 1983, god do I wish some of the players in the recent era could take a page out of his playbook.

    Wow. A man with every reason to be involved in this lawsuit who had the integrity to decline.

    I am speachless, and I am not a Cowboys fan by any means, but I am now a HUGE fan of this man and will be diving into the archives to familiarize myself with his career.

    God bless you Roger. Hope you make it another 70+.

  8. thegreatgabbert says: Aug 29, 2013 4:37 PM

    “Well Mr. Staubach, your brain scans have come back and they look great. You should feel fortunate, we had a gentleman from the Cowboys about your age in recently, who never played football, and his brain looked like one of those scrub foamies after it gets all worn out and shrunken. You know the ones I mean, big holes inside and discolored stuff peeling off the outside.

  9. howiefeltersnatch says: Aug 29, 2013 4:39 PM

    He has no interest in joining the lawsuit against the league because he’s been a successful business man in retirement.

  10. sportnorcal says: Aug 29, 2013 4:40 PM

    As a kid, Roger ripped the hearts out of Niners fans for years. I hated him, and respected him at the same time.

    STILL a class act.

  11. hendawg21 says: Aug 29, 2013 4:44 PM

    That’s the most sensable thing i’ve heard from anyone associated with the Cowboys say in a long time. And I couldn’t agree with more that most of those jumping in did so just to be doing it and probably thinking there was some cash cow at the end of the road that was going to stuff their pockets with lots of loot…

  12. sevensgottago says: Aug 29, 2013 4:49 PM

    As an Eagles fan, I STILL always had the utmost respect for Roger. Annapolis grad, naval officer, successful pro football player, and successful businessman. A class act.
    ALL of these guys HAD to know that getting knocked senseless every week just had to be bad for your brain. That’s why they were so well paid ( in more recent times)

  13. somethingsmellsrotten says: Aug 29, 2013 4:53 PM

    Yep, nothing but class…doesn’t want a hand out and never will. And he is spot on about players joining the lawsuit just for a quick buck…I applaud you sir.

  14. brintfatre says: Aug 29, 2013 4:54 PM

    At 71 and despite the concussions he’d be an improvement for them at qb today! They dont make them like that anymore!

  15. alizoom22 says: Aug 29, 2013 4:59 PM

    Staubach= Real Man

  16. southernpatriots says: Aug 29, 2013 5:33 PM

    Staubach was the epitome of class and a real gentleman but a tenacious competitor when he was playing. He lived a clean life and lifestyle. That clean living may have contributed to his health and recovery from all of those concussions.

    Kudos Roger!

  17. tg1896 says: Aug 29, 2013 5:40 PM

    It seems like we’re treated to an endless series of stories about NFL players that are bankrupt, arrested for DWI, dogfighting, carrying weapons, selling drugs and first-degree murder.

    Thank you, Mr. Staubach.

  18. billymc75 says: Aug 29, 2013 5:47 PM

    Captain America indeed!

  19. billymc75 says: Aug 29, 2013 5:49 PM

    always some clown that has to take a jab at Romo. let it go there’s enough proof that he’s a good QB. its really old

  20. asimonetti88 says: Aug 29, 2013 5:53 PM

    Staubach also spent his money wisely and became a successful businessman following his career.

    It seems to me that most of those suing the NFL did not spend their money wisely like Roger, and are just looking for a fast buck.

    I hope those that are truly injured get the money, and those just trying to make a buck don’t get anything.

  21. nflpoker says: Aug 29, 2013 5:55 PM

    20 concussions, wow. I always respected Roger, but even more so now. The one good thing that you could say about this settlement, is that due to the fact that these players will have to wait 20 years to get all the money, after inflation, the money will be worth A LOT LESS. So much for the gravy train that a bunch of these “injured” players wanted to jump on.

  22. stillers213 says: Aug 29, 2013 6:18 PM

    As an old life-long Steeler fan, I watched him play at a high level for years. I always respected him as both a man and a player. As a vet, I especially appreciate the fact that he served our country. It’s no surprise to me to hear him speak so honorable and classy.

  23. mjrodriquez says: Aug 29, 2013 7:08 PM

    Good to hear you’re doing well Roger.
    MJ Rodriquez
    I Club #73
    NMMI Class 62

  24. junglerat524 says: Aug 29, 2013 7:48 PM

    Another Cincy Boy done good.

    As much success as Roger had on the field he’s had even more success off the field in business to this day.

    Hard to believe it after 20 brain scrambles that his noggin isn’t mush. Tough guy. Smart guy. Good guy.

  25. loftonbomb80 says: Aug 29, 2013 7:59 PM

    Lots of respect to Staubach. Aren’t most of these players college graduates or at least attended for 3-4 years and they didn’t know hitting your heads could be harmful? Seems many must have had brain damage before ever playing football.

  26. scchamil says: Aug 29, 2013 8:27 PM

    Staubach is amazing. With apologies to Magic, Jordan and George Foreman – Staubach might have the most successful post pro-athlete career in history. Guy is worth $600 Mil… what need would he have for the aggravation of a lawsuit?

  27. justanotherdummy says: Aug 29, 2013 8:31 PM

    The cream of the nation’s crop always shines through, Go Navy!

  28. ninerfan94954 says: Aug 29, 2013 8:59 PM

    I remember Staubach leading the Cowboys to a last second win over the 49ers in the 70’s. Not a big Cowboy fan at all, but Roger Staubach, incredible leader, incredible athlete as well as an American patriot… not many of those around nowadays.

  29. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Aug 29, 2013 11:02 PM

    Other than saying he thought Romo was a QB that could win it all, I believe he is OK.

  30. whodey420 says: Aug 30, 2013 1:10 AM

    Maybe he could be a speech therapist for Emmitt!

  31. jaclyn1973 says: Jan 15, 2014 10:52 AM

    This does not surprise me at all. Roger always showed integrity and class. Did you know he never had an agent represent him? He took care of his own negotiating, etc. Read his biography. He’s a funny guy. At the end, the doctors told him if he kept playing and getting concussions, he was going to be a vegetable. Roger asked his wife if she preferred broccoli or carrots. She was NOT amused.

    Roger and Tom Landry will always be tops in my book.

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