Antwaan Randle El wishes he hadn’t decided to play football for a living.
But the former receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins also knows there’s a good chance he wouldn’t be suffering memory lapses or having trouble walking down the stairs at age 36 if he had taken another career path.
“If I could go back, I wouldn’t” play football, Randle El told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I would play baseball. I got drafted by the Cubs in the 14th round, but I didn’t play baseball because of my parents. They made me go to school. Don’t get me wrong, I love the game of football. But right now, I could still be playing baseball.”
Instead, Randle El’s playing career ended in 2010 after nine seasons in the NFL. A highlight was throwing a 43-yard touchdown pass to fellow receiver Hines Ward during the Steelers’ 21-10 victory over Seattle in Super Bowl XL.
As for the lowlights, those are happening now.
“I have to come down sideways sometimes, depending on the day,” said Randle El, who serves as athletic director at the Christian high school he co-founded in Virginia. “Going up is easier actually than coming down.”
And then there’s the memory issues. “I ask my wife things over and over again, and she’s like, ‘I just told you that,’ ” he said. “I’ll ask her three times the night before and get up in the morning and forget. Stuff like that.
“I try to chalk it up as I’m busy, I’m doing a lot, but I have to be on my knees praying about it, asking God to allow me to not have these issues and live a long life. I want to see my kids raised up. I want to see my grandkids.”
Randle El appeared on "The Dan Patrick Show" on Wednesday morning and addressed some of his comments.
"I want people to realize I'm in no way dying, keeling over, struggling to get around or anything like that," he said.
"Sometimes I have to put two feet on the [same] steps because of the pain I'm experiencing in my knees and in my ankles and in my feet."
Randle El again acknowledged his busy life, but said that "some of this memory loss and forgetting things ... gives me some concern that maybe some of this has come from some of the hits I've taken while playing the game of football."
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