Dominic Raiola: 'Memory loss is going to come'
When he’s done playing, Dominic Raiola knows he’s going to be aching.
And he figures short-term memory loss will be part of the equation, too, after a lifetime in football.
But the gritty Detroit Lions center says it’s all worth it to him and he doesn’t envision himself suing the NFL any day as many players are doing now, looking to collect for head injuries, concussions and other injuries.
It’s just too much damn fun for Raiola, even despite the fact the Lions have been losers for all but one of his 11 seasons in Motown – this past year.
“It’s common knowledge that people are going to suffer,” Raiola said, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “Memory loss is going to come. You’re hitting every time you step on the field. I’m ready for it.”
At this advanced stage of his career, Raiola is smart enough to know he doesn’t have a lot of years left. He’s trying to enjoy every bit of what he does have left even knowing physically it will all take a toll on him.
“It’s worth it. It’s totally worth it,” he said. “This is the best job in the world. I’d never trade it for anything, so I don’t know if I could justify suing the league when I’m done, because it’s given me up to this point, 11 years. Even though we’ve lost for 10, it’s given me 11 years of fun. I have fun every time I step on the field, and I think that’s what it’s all about.
“When I’m at home in my rocking chair at 40, I don’t think I’m going to be thinking about suing the NFL. I’m going to be thinking about those guys I played with in the locker room and, hopefully, these good years coming up.”
Raiola doesn’t have anything negative to say about the players engaged in legal tangles with the NFL right now. But …
“I think, when you sign up for this job, you know what you’re getting in to,” he said. “That’s how they’re handling it. I know I’m going to have my day when I’m later on in my days, but it’s going to happen. Whatever happens is going to happen, whether it be short-term memory loss. Those are all the rigors of this job. That’s why it’s not for everybody. It takes a unique individual to play this.”
Hopefully, when Raiola's days are over he doesn't suffer some of the debilitating injuries that haunt many former players. As miuch fun as the game is, future health issues could last much longer.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune