Hall of Famer Bruce Smith says he's in constant pain, forgetting things
Bruce Smith was one of the most feared defensive ends during his 19-season Hall of Fame career. But all those years have apparently taken quite a toll on the 52-year-old Buffalo Bills icon.
"There's not a day that goes by that I'm not in pain," Smith said, via the Buffalo News. "Multiple joints and things that I experience on a daily basis. It can be very frustrating sometimes and painful, but I'm very blessed."
Smith retired in 2003 as the NFL's all-time sacks leader, finishing with 200. He helped the Bills reach four consecutive Super Bowl berths, only to be denied the Lombardi Trophy each time. The 11-time Pro Bowler finished with double-digit sack totals in 13 of his 19 years.
With concussions and concussion prevention front and center in today's NFL, Smith said he wishes players knew what the league did when he played. He also said he believes the league will never give players the whole story.
"For some reason or another, I don't think we'll ever get to that," Smith said. "But obviously there's some light that can be shed on the subject. But for reasons that may be too sensitive, for reasons that may be too damaging, we won't ever get to that point. However, I do think they're taking steps to move in the right direction in the protection of players and future players in the present time. But there are some guys who are suffering that we need to make sure are taken care of."
Bills' Bruce Smith in action against the New England Patriots circa the early 1990s.
But it's not just physical pain that's limiting Smith in his later years. He admitted that his memory is also failing him.
"I forget a lot of things sometimes," Smith said. "I'm not one to sit here and complain. While I did not know the severity of what continuous head traumas could do to an individual and the mind and so forth, I'm not going to sit here and complain. I'm very blessed to be standing here."