SThis is an interview series in which we ask the plaintiffs of the NFL concussion lawsuit one question (and maybe a few more): Knowing what you know now, if you could do it over again, would you still play football?
Today: Former safety Liffort Hobley. The former LSU defensive back, a Louisiana native, played in 84 professional games between 1985 and 1993, all but five with the Miami Dolphins. Hobley, one of more than 4,500 retired football players to bring suit against the NFL over head injuries suffered during their time in the league, has worked in the software industry for more than 15 years, including his current job with Wolters Kluwer in Irving, Texas.
I'm not going to tell you I totally understand the negotiations tactics, but we have what we have not because of the NFL Players Association, but because of a group of attorneys that were hired by a group of good guys that thought we needed to have something coming back to us. It's funny that the PA hasn't been involved in this negotiation and it took a group of attorneys outside of the organization to get this done. I think they did a good job.
You didn't have a choice in the matter sometimes. Either you did what you were asked to do or you didn't have a job. And that was the situation with most guys. And I would say a small percentage of players did not have that thrust upon them as an athlete, but those guys are usually the quarterbacks. Everyone else is... You're a guy. You're a construction worker. You do the job or you find something else to do.
You know, I pray to God that I'm never in a position that I'll need to use those funds. I'm hoping that I made it out intact enough to retire, and basically just take my retirement benefits from the NFL and from the current company that I work for, and be satisfied and able to see my grandkids run, jump and play. And even my own kids, my now 11-year-old son, see him grow up and not have to worry about taking care of Dad.
I look at it this way: There's never going to be enough. The settlement is what it is. I think there should've been a larger settlement based on how many players, based on what the cost is going to be for those players now and other players to come. I don't see a closure in this right now. I think it should still be in the courts. I think it should be in the billions somewhere. Our attorneys did a wonderful job, but I still think the number should be larger.
I'm staying with the group. Whatever we do as a group we'll continue to do as a group. And my opinions are my opinions. We're just making sure they get taken care of as a group.
Basically the public's always going to have their opinion, until it's one of their relatives. And that pretty much puts it right there. You see the opinions. I read some of it and I just laugh. It's just laughable because, like I said, until it's one of their relatives...
Knowing what you know now, if you had it to do over again, would you still play football?
I probably would have chosen a different sport. I was talented in several sports. I probably could've been a hell of a baseball player so yeah, I probably would have, actually, chosen something else. And I'll tell you now: I have an 11-year-old son and I'm definitely choosing a different life for him. He will not play football.
Rob Trucks was last seen on Deadspin interviewing former athletes about the end of their careers. His oral histories with 49-year-old Americans can be found at McSweeney's, and his latest book is on Fleetwood Mac's Tusk album.