George Rogers feels the pain of a football career

Hardly ever does a day go by without another story of a retired football player who’s living with health problems tied to his playing days. Today the story is that of George Rogers, the former Saints and Redskins running back who was the first overall draft pick and rookie of the year in 1981.

Rogers, now 50 years old, says he has daily pain in his knee, shoulder, shins, toes and thumb, all of which he traces to football injuries.

“Some days I hate to wake up,” Rogers says, “because I know I can’t stand on my feet. I have trouble walking some days. . . . Those are the battle scars you take with you when you leave that league. When they say ‘NFL,’ they mean it: ‘Not For Long.'”

Rogers also says he played through concussions, an issue that’s particularly sensitive for the NFL right now after Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked to testify before Congress on the matter. Rogers believes concussions on the playing field affect memory later in life.

“The older you get, the more you can’t remember anyway,” Rogers says. “I think (the concussions) affect your memory. Hey, you’re a running back. You’re probably taking more hits than anybody on the field, as far as taking licks, getting hit.”

Rogers led the league in rushing as a rookie with the Saints in 1981, and he led the league in touchdown with the Redskins in 1986. He retired at the age of 29 after the 1987 season, citing nagging injuries.

17 responses to “George Rogers feels the pain of a football career

  1. WHAT is the NFL doing to help these players, with their medical issues? It’s the NFL’s Dirty Little Secret

  2. Rogers probably would be feeling a lot better if he did a better job of taking care of himself while he was playing instead of snorting coke, smoking crack, and whatever low-life drug addicts do instead of taking proper care of themselves.

  3. Wow, I’m surprised George didn’t say anything about his nose hurting because that’s where his career went! Too much coke can make the Not For Long league end quickly too. I live in Columbia, SC and never have I seen someone leech off of an entire city like this sorry excuse for a football player! People fawn over this guy like he personally took a hill in Vietnam and it’s disgusting. I’ve been around him personally and he’s a foul mouthed pos that has no skill or ability. He reported from the sideline one time for the gamecocks and it was hilarious! You had to know ebonics and slow your brain down enough to understand what he was saying. Needless to say, that was his one and only shot at TV save for whatever interview Florio got. Poor poor George, my body hurts, my legs hurt, can someone get me a bump!

  4. Watching the NFL is a guilty pleasure because we know what these men are doing to their bodies for a paycheck.
    It’s brutal and it sometimes ends their lives prematurely.
    I’m sorry that some fans don’t appear to care.
    I’m even sorrier that there’s not a lot that can be done about it, except for one thing: play without pads or helmets. Unfortunately, while that might be a godsend for players, it’s a no-go for fans who like their pound of flesh. So it will never happen.

  5. “Rogers, now 50 years old, says he has daily pain in his knee, shoulder, shins, toes and thumb, all of which he traces to football injuries. ”
    Wow, me too. RedGoneWILD has the right idea, but I’d suggest a few shots of Wild Turkey as well.

  6. Most people in blue collar jobs end up with aches and pains by the time they hit 50 too. Physical labor over extended periods does that to the body. What happens when you don’t pursue college after being a high school all star.

  7. My grandma had those same symptoms — body pains and memory loss, a hard time walking — and she never played football.

  8. I feel sorry for some of the older players, but by the ’80’s these guys were making some serious scratch. To a certain degree I feel bad for the guys that played in the ’80s-present, but they made a ton of money and maybe should have saved some for their retirement instead of snorting it, smoking it, or pissing it away on extravagant mansions, yachts, and cars. I can only imagine what I’d have done with millions at 23 years old, but if I wasted it I’d have no one to blame but myself.

  9. Were these oldtimers forced to play football? Were they too ignorant to know the risks? I have empathy for them but for the love of god stop it. You made your bed, now lay in it. Isn’t that what the college education you have is for? If they want a handout, stand on the offramp of the freeway with a sign with the rest of the panhandlers. They had a choice and they made it. Now deal with it!

  10. To say he was great is an understatement. I had the pleasure of seeing some of his college games and watching him play pro ball while I was in high school. Damn fine running back who gave it his all.

  11. While its said to hear anyone is in pain late in their life, whether you’re an NFL running back or a regular person . . . there are consequences to your decisions.
    If were a smoker and get cancer, knowing what we know, I have a hard time getting twisted over that.
    If you’re a drinker with some liver problems late in life . . . what did you expect?
    If you’re an NFL player who also partied hard . . . what did you expect? And the NFL player is getting paid serious money to take on the risk of the game.
    Older players from the 70’s and before, at least they were underpaid. 80’s and afterwards . . . should have saved your money better.

  12. My dad has two fake knees, lost hearing, and other ailments from years of back-breaking construction work and nobody’s crying for him (and, frankly, he wouldn’t want anyone to). Even in the early 80’s a pro football player was making more in a couple of years than my dad could have hoped to make in a lifetime.
    Lots of people wind up physically broken by their career choices. If Mr. Rogers’ choices cost him his health then he has nobody to blame but himself. He could have easily chosen to finish a degree in business administration and get a nice, calm, government desk job.
    Of course the real story is that he’d have to skip the hookers and blow with the desk job, so screw that…

  13. Wow–so many jerks writing posts here. No empathy at all. No one is asking you people to cry for Rogers–Smith is just reporting the story.
    And yes, people’s grandmothers have some of the same symptoms as Rogers, but probably not when they are only 50 years old.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.