Opinion

Former Royals star Bo Jackson: ‘I would have never played football’ today

Bo Jackson spent the first five seasons of his major-league career with the Royals from 1986 to 1990.
Bo Jackson spent the first five seasons of his major-league career with the Royals from 1986 to 1990. AP

More than two decades after he last played professional sports, Bo Jackson knows one thing clearly.

“If I knew now what I had known back then, I would have never played football,” the former Kansas City Royals outfielder told USA Today Sports in a recent interview.

“Never. I wish I had known about all those head injuries, but no one knew that,” Jackson said. “And the people that did know that, they wouldn’t tell anybody.”

Jackson, who won the 1985 Heisman Trophy award at Auburn, had his dazzling two-sport career derailed by a hip injury suffered in a 1991 NFL playoff game.

“The game has gotten so violent, so rough,” Jackson said. “We’re so much more educated on this CTE stuff, there’s no way I would ever allow my kids to play football today.”

Jackson spent the first five seasons of his major-league career with the Royals from 1986 to 1990.

He only played 23 games late in the 1991 season with the Chicago White Sox after returning from the hip injury.

After sitting out the 1992 season, Jackson played 85 games with the White Sox in 1993 before ending his career with the California Angels in 1994.

He hit .250 with 141 home runs, 415 runs batted in and 82 stolen bases in 694 career games.

In four seasons with the NFL’s Los Angeles Raiders, Jackson ran for 2,782 yards —averaging 5.4 yards per carry — and 16 touchdowns in 38 games.

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