The Price Of The Game
It’s always good for those of us who watch pro football to be reminded that the men who play the game are made of flesh and bone.
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Rick Telander has done that with his Friday column.
“On bad days, Jack is halfway crippled, overwhelmed by nerve pain in his arms and spine and throbbing osteoarthritis pain in just about every other joint. One knee is sort of OK, but that is compromised by the four surgeries to replace a damaged right hip joint.”
The “Jack” of the story is former Chiefs Pro Bowl C Jack Rudnay. Because he played for so many bad Chiefs teams during his career, Rudnay never got the attention and recognition that he deserved. But for those men who played with him and against him, Rudnay was a warrior. He appeared in four Pro Bowls and won the respect of every man he played against, from Joe Greene to one-time teammate Curley Culp.
Telander wrote: “The warrior code meant Rudnay continued on, out of duty. Indeed, he played in 144 straight NFL games after 30 straight with Northwestern. ”I felt it was a sacred obligation with my teammates and my opponents,” he says.”
But there was a price to pay for that attitude, one that Jack pays on a daily basis and will for the rest of his life. Take the time and read about one of the best players and best men to every wear the red and gold. Here is the link.
Wow! What a read!
I couldn’t agree more. I knew he was an outstanding football player and one tough hombre but this helps put it in perspective. the price these guys pay for what they do is unreal. When people talk about it like it’s just another job or form of entertainment they just have no clue.
If memory serves, Rick Telander tried out with the Chiefs after college. Like Jack Rudnay, he went to Northwestern; maybe they were teammates. Anyway, he penned a series of stories about his efforts and eventually ended up with SI.
Rudnay’s health woes are instructive. The warrior attitude that kept him on the field for so many consecutive games now sustains his daily struggles to make some use of his body.
The sad part is that the money the players made when he played was literally chump change relative to current levels. However, you are not likely to hear him complain because that seems not to be his nature. It makes Albert Haynesworth seem even more petty than he was already perceived to be.
Thanks for the link, Bob.