Weekend poll: Is the $765 million settlement between the NFL and players enough money?

Leading Off: Former NFL player stresses safety now

Published: Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013 - 9:08 pm

George Visger doesn't want people of any age to stop playing football.

He just wants them to block and tackle the right way, head up, and for coaches to continue to preach that football can be a "great game, when done safely."

Visger, 54, was a defensive lineman from Stockton who won a Super Bowl with the 49ers in January 1982, so he knows what he's talking about when he speaks at camps and clinics about the benefits of the sport he loves – and traumatic injuries.

Visger, who now lives in Grass Valley, said he had at least 20 concussions as a player, leading to nine brain surgeries over the decades. A scar snakes up the back of his head. Some days are better than others. He forgets things. He frets about his family and future.

"If you play football, do it right," Visger said recently.

Visger said players should take baseline cognitive testing before and after each season. Can't afford it? Find a way, Visger said, because the costs of trauma can inflict unspeakable damage otherwise.

Visger said Friday he was partially pleased with the NFL settling a lawsuit with retired players for $765 million – he called it a small victory – "before we lose any more brothers to suicide. The reality is the NFL is a huge winner. The bottom line is the NFL kicked our butts."

What to watch

College football, Georgia at Clemson, 5:07 p.m., Ch. 10: It's a showdown of Heisman Trophy candidate quarterbacks – the No. 5 Bulldogs' Aaron Murray and the No. 8 Tigers' Tajh Boyd.

Weekend poll

Is the $765 million settlement between the NFL and former players big enough?

• Yes

• No

Vote above or leave your comments in the comments field; or, go to www.sacbee.com/sports

Thursday's poll results

Who will win the Super Bowl this season?

• 49ers: 60%

• Broncos: 7%

• Packers: 3%

• Ravens: 0%

• Seahawks: 15%

• Other: 15%

Total votes: 445

Follow on Joe Davidson @SacBee_JoeD and listen to his "Extra Point" every Wednesday on ESPN1320.net

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