Jack Youngblood, the Hall of Fame defensive end for the Rams who famously played in the Super Bowl with a fractured fibula, thinks today’s players are getting soft.
Asked by the New York Post what he would say to Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who is nursing back and shoulder injuries, Youngblood answered, “Go play. It’s not about you. It’s about your football team.”
When Youngblood was asked if he would understand why Pierre-Paul might want to sit out and let himself get healthy, he said he couldn’t grasp that.
“No,” Youngblood said. “I would not understand, because I’d want to see him go try.”
Youngblood believes teammates should pressure each other to play through injuries.
“If I was on his team, I’d try to convince him to look at it from my perspective, because we would be on equal ground,” Youngblood said. “I want him on the field at 75 percent to see if he can play.”
The culture of football has changed since 1980, when Youngblood was universally praised for playing through a broken leg in Super Bowl XIV. Youngblood later wrote an autobiography that he titled, Because It Was Sunday, using his standard answer to the question of why he played with a broken leg. Now a lot of people would say Youngblood is crazy, including many players who have come to decide that their long-term health is more important than Sunday’s game.