From 1971 to 1984, Jack Youngblood was one of the best defensive ends in football. A seven-time Pro Bowler and five-time first-team All-Pro, Youngblood spent his entire career with the Los Angeles Rams and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
And he is undeniably worried about CTE.
“Absolutely, it’s coming,” Youngblood said on Tiki & Tierney. “I know it’s coming. I’m grossly sliding off the memory, off the information, off of the ability to focus on certain things. It’s coming. The doctors told me that.”
Youngblood and his contemporaries didn’t know about CTE while they were playing. Frankly, they weren’t aware of the long-term dangers of football in general.
“We didn’t know about the dangers of it, to be honest,” he said. “Then they came up with that [CTE] study at Boston [University].”
Brandon Tierney asked if Youngblood’s issues have more to do with his age, 70, than with football.
“This started back when I was 62,” he said. “We’ve been looking at it for a while. The doctor who did the MRI and the cat scan [showed me my images].”
The doctor showed Youngblood images of a normal brain, and then showed Youngblood images of his brain.
“I laughed, and he didn’t laugh, and that kind of hurt, too,” Youngblood said. “It was unsettling. Very. Very. The main groove in the brain was twice the size, the frontal lobe, all the way down the lobe – both of them. It’s coming.”