Four-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Joe Montana is feeling the pain of life after football. Montana, in an interview with USA Today Sports, revealed the various physical ailments hindering his daily life at age 59. Three weeks after former Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins wide receiver Antwaan Randle El said if he could go back in time he wouldn’t have played football, we’re wondering if Montana shares his same sentiments?
It’s been more than 20 years since Montana threw his final NFL pass, and as he says, the bumps and bruises you get while in the league gradually take a toll on your body.
“The mental part was hard initially when I first retired,’’ Montana told USA Today. “Because it’s quick – cold turkey, the game’s gone. Then the physical stuff tries to catch up with you.’’
The former San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs player said he’s experiencing aches all over his body, which are holding him back from doing the activities he once could. In the interview, Montana mentions his hands, knees, elbows and neck all causing debilitating pain. The Hall-of-Famer said he’s had three neck fusions to date and the nerve damage has spread to one of his eyes.
“It acts like a lazy eye to some degree because every time you’re tired, it kind of goes wherever it feels like a little bit,’’ Montana said. “Not dramatic but just enough where you can’t read or you have to refocus.’’
While the NFL is implementing rule changes in an attempt to make football a safer game, the reality is the sport is innately dangerous. And to fully understand what Montana is going through:
“My whole family likes to live on the edge, so some of the things I regret that I can’t do with them, like snowboarding. I fell like 50 times within 30 yards off the top of the ski lift. … I love basketball. I can’t play basketball. I can shoot, but that’s about it. I can’t run up and down the court. My knee just gives out. … I tried a little bit of skiing, but unfortunately when you get weight on one ski under my left knee, it’s just not very strong. After my first back surgery, what kind of compounds things, is my sciatic nerve has been damaged. So the muscles along my sciatic nerve into my left foot have been numb since ’86.’’
Fortunately, Montana is healthy enough to attend Super Bowl 50, where he will handle the coin toss. It’s one of the things he’s still able to do.
“Unfortunately, most of us leave this game with things that linger,” Montana said.