Former Heisman Trophy Winner on Post-NFL Pain: ‘My Life Sucks’

Jim Plunkett says it’s “no fun being in this body right now”

Jim Plunkett
Jim Plunkett

Former NFL star quarterback Jim Plunkett said his “life sucks” and it’s “no fun being in this body right now” because “everything hurts,” during an interview with Mercury News.

The 69-year-old Plunkett won the 1970 Heisman Trophy while playing at Stanford and was selected No. 1 overall in the 1971 NFL Draft. He spent 15 years playing in the league but isn’t enjoying retirement because of health issues that come with playing the sport.

He is required to take an assortment of medication, including 13 pills per day and an opioid if he wants to do something active, such as play a round of golf.

“There are a couple other drugs I take — I can’t know them all,” Plunkett told the paper. “I’ve got to take them every day to quote-unquote survive.”

Plunkett said he suffered at least 10 concussions while playing football. While the NFL has taken dramatic measures in recent years to prevent concussions, Plunkett told the paper that referees simply used to ask how many fingers they were holding up.

“If you say, ‘Three,’ they say, ‘Close enough,’ ” Plunkett told the paper. “You’d get a little smelling salt and you go right back in.”

Plunkett played in the NFL from 1971-1986, leading the Raiders to Raiders to Super Bowl titles in 1981 and 1984.

The 2017 NFL season kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 7 when the New England Patriots host the Kansas City Chiefs.