During his 20-year career – 19 with the Vikings at defensive end – Jim Marshall played in a then-record 282 consecutive games, starting 270 straight with the Vikings. He was an iron man.
But it took a toll. Marshall estimates he was knocked out one or two times per season. “If you were able to tell how many fingers they put up in front of you, or take some smelling salts and get it back together, you were back in the game,” Marshall said. “It was just part of the culture then. I don’t know how that affected me. But I can still talk.”
He’s waiting to see how Thursday’s news will affect him, too. News broke Thursday morning that the NFL had agreed to a $765 million settlement with thousands of former players who sued the league over brain injuries sustained while playing. They money will go to provide medical benefits and injury compensation for retired players, fund research and handle litigation expenses.
But how that will trickle down to the players involved?
Marshall, one of the plaintiffs, expects to hear an update soon, but hasn’t heard anything yet. “We’ll find out what they propose to do with that,” Marshall said. “I would assume the attorneys would be calling us individually soon, letting us know exactly what it means.’’
Marshall had already taken some calls from former teammates asking for updates. “I told them exactly what I told you,” said Marshall, 75. “I haven’t heard anything. I don’t know what it means.”
Marshall is still paying the price for his extensive career. He has had both hips and both knees replaced. Six weeks ago he had his second spinal fusion operation – it was his sixth total surgery on his spine – and will be going to the Mayo Clinic Friday for a post-operative checkup.