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After 24 surgeries, former Bengals linebacker Reggie Williams fights to save leg

August 28, 2013|By Sam Farmer
  • Former NFL linebacker Reggie Williams stretches his surgically repaired leg out as he listens to NFL Players Assn. executive director DeMaurice Smith speak in Sacramento back in April.
Former NFL linebacker Reggie Williams stretches his surgically repaired… (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated…)

Think playing in the NFL is a dream job? Check out this gut-wrenching story on former Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Reggie Williams, who has undergone 24 surgeries on his butchered right knee.

Paul Daugherty of the Cincinnati Enquirer paints an amazing picture of how the brutality of pro football has left a former Ivy League standout and two-time Super Bowl starter battling to save his leg.

Writes Daugherty:

He was never meant to be ordinary. Not as a hearing-impaired youth growing tough in Flint, Mich., not as an African American Ivy Leaguer at pale-white Dartmouth, not as arguably the most proficient linebacker in the 45-year history of the local NFL franchise. Not as a vice president at Disney, who created the most extensive youth sports complex in the world. And certainly not now.

He stands before us, lesser in some ways than when we knew him. Also far greater, for what has befallen him since he left Cincinnati after the 1989 season. Reggie Williams is a man fighting for a life he wants to keep living on his terms. He’s fighting for his right leg, literally.

He’s doing it solo, without insurance, and he’s doing it without a posse of lawyers, filing suits on his behalf. While Reggie is part of a class-action lawsuit brought by more than 4,500 players (and counting) seeking justice for head injuries, the fight for his knee, his leg and his legacy is his alone.

The story could change the way you look at NFL players and the way they mortgage their futures to keep playing the game.


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