Eric Dickerson: ‘The N.F.L. Is Another No-Good Entity.’

In your book, you discuss football’s impact on your body and brain. How are you doing?

I have good days and bad days. I can’t sleep. Last time I had a really good night’s sleep was about three years ago and I slept on a plane going from L.A. to London. I can remember it, I remember very well. Sometimes I may sleep two hours, I may sleep four hours. I just went to a sleep apnea place to see if I have it. It’s horrible, man.

I know for me, I won’t have a long life living like this, not being able to sleep. It just won’t happen. People ask would I do it all over again if I knew what would happen. Yeah, I would do it and I’d do it for one reason: My mom. I’d do it for Viola Dickerson. It gave my mother and my family a life they never would have had. And me, too.

Are you at all concerned that you have chronic traumatic encephalopathy (C.T.E.)?

I mean, I’m sure. I know I do, some form of it. Not advanced yet. But sometimes I have a short fuse and sometimes I don’t. Something small, like a guy blows a horn at me, and man, my insides go ballistic. I mean, I’ll go crazy. Like, crazy crazy. We guys talk about that, how you have that short fuse. That’s the football, the aggressiveness. I’ll get real aggressive. I don’t like that. I don’t like to act like that. Because once I start, I can’t stop. It’s almost embarrassing, it’s uncontrollable. It’s almost like the Incredible Hulk. I cannot control myself. I don’t care if the pope was here, I’m going to curse and go ballistic. And I don’t like to act like that.

Knowing what you do, will you let your son play tackle football?

Well, he’s 9 years old, and he plays flag football. I’ve talked to him about football. I said: ‘Listen, you’re playing flag. There’s going to come a point where it’s tackle.’ He says, ‘Dad, I understand.’ I said: ‘No, there’s going to be hits and tackling. It’s going to be more physical.’ If he wants to play, would I let him play? Yeah, probably. I would. I wouldn’t want to stop him. But I want to give him everything he has to work with to know how dangerous that sport is.

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