PRO FOOTBALL DAILY REPORT : AROUND THE NFL : Browns’ Peebles Retires Rather Than Risk Paralysis

Associated Press

Cleveland Brown receiver Danny Peebles, his fingers still tingling from a helmet-to-helmet collision with Houston’s Bubba McDowell on Nov. 17, retired from football Tuesday.

Peebles was told by doctors in Houston and Cleveland that he would risk permanent paralysis if he continued playing contact sports. He lost all feeling and movement in his arms and legs for about 10 minutes after he was hit as a third-quarter pass from Bernie Kosar fell incomplete at the Astrodome.

Peebles’ neck injury occurred the same day Detroit Lion offensive lineman Mike Utley was left paralyzed from the chest down after suffering a broken vertebra in a game against the Rams.

“All my prayers are out to him, because for a brief moment in time, I know what he’s going through,” Peebles said.


Peebles said his spinal column narrows in some places, a fairly common condition that can be dangerous for a football player. The condition was discovered during examinations after he was hurt.

“Of course, I want to go out there and play,” he said. “Right now, other than some tingling in my hands, I feel just as healthy as I felt three or four weeks ago.

“But going through what I went through--it was the scariest moment I faced in my 25 years. To be paralyzed from the neck down, granted it wasn’t for too long, but it’s something you can’t imagine. It was almost like I was outside of my body looking in, because I could see my hands and I could see my body, but it just didn’t feel like it was mine.”

Doctors have told him the residual tingling in his hands should eventually go away.


The hit by McDowell, Peebles said, was hard but clean.

“There was nothing dirty about it,” Peebles said. “I have all the respect in the world for Bubba McDowell. He came through the locker room to see how I was doing. He called me when I was in the hospital, and he called me when I got back to Cleveland. You have to have the mentality as a football player to say you want to go out and kill somebody, but nobody wants to really seriously injure anybody.”

Anthony Munoz, All-Pro tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals, suffered a dislocated elbow in Sunday’s 27-24 victory over the New York Giants and may be out for the rest of the season. . . . Terry Long and Tim Worley, the only players suspended this season under the NFL’s drug policy, may return to the Pittsburgh Steelers before the season ends. Worley, a running back who hasn’t played a down this season, is serving an NFL-imposed six-week suspension for twice violating the league’s drug rules but is eligible for reinstatement next week. Long is serving a four-week suspension for flunking a steroids test.