Ex-NFLer Reggie Williams fighting to save mangled leg

A screen grab from a video shot by the Cincinnati Enquirer shows Reggie Williams at his Orlando...

A screen grab from a video shot by the Cincinnati Enquirer shows Reggie Williams at his Orlando home.

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:51 PM ET

An NFL great is in a fight to save his mangled leg after undergoing 24 surgeries since his career ended in 1989.

Reggie Williams, who played 14 seasons as a linebacker with the Cincinnati Bengals, “needs help,” but says the league and his former team aren’t interested in assisting older players who’ve run into health issues long after their careers have ended.

In an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer, Williams wouldn't say what he’s after. His right knee, following two dozen surgeries and multiple infections, looks like it has been smashed by a meat tenderizer.

It’s “necrotic tissue … dead leg,” Williams told the paper from his Orlando residence earlier this week.

Williams’ problem, though, is his former club’s response.

“The Bengals can do more than nothing,” he said of the team turning a blind eye to his struggles. “I mean, I was a pall bearer at (former Bengals owner) Paul Brown’s funeral.

"They can do more to aggressively address the aging of their retired players. Recognize the consequences of surgery after surgery.”

Williams’ encyclopedia of knee surgeries are a result of playing on “some of the worst turf ever” at Riverfront Stadium, he says.

“I have nothing from them,” he said of the Bengals. “Fourteen years, 206 games, 12,000 plays, 60% on Astroturf, half of that at Riverfront Stadium.”

The Bengals, technically, don’t owe Williams a thing. The AFC North club is free and clear of responsibility in Williams' case.

The 58-year-old made close to $2 million in his career and currently collects a league pension of $4,300 a month.

“He’s hurting, he’s frustrated, he doesn’t have a good answer to his predicament,” Mike Brown, the Bengals' current owner, told the Enquirer. “I understand why he would sound off. It saddens me. I don’t know for sure how he came to be so injured. It appears from our perspective that it’s a result of the infection after the operations."

While he appears to fall within a gray area. Williams believes the NFL and the Bengals bear some responsibility in helping him recover from his current condition.

“If justice is not received, I’m going to continue to fight,” Williams says.

“I’m totally screwed here. I need help. You want me to define exactly the kind of help I need, today? That’s different from the kind of help I need tomorrow. Different from the kind of help I need a year from now. It’s different from the kind of help I’m going to need if I have to cut my f------ leg off.”

The one-time Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award winner is just one of many ex-players in pursuit of some form of compensation long after completing their careers.

Williams says he was asked to, but didn’t, join more than 4,000 other retired players in a class-action lawsuit against the league after allegations the NFL hid known concussion risks from former players.

Litigation surrounding the players’ allegations moves forward in court next month.

 


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