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January 31st, 2014
07:34 PM ET

Joe Namath on brain damage: "There were areas in my brain where the cells had ceased"

With Super Bowl XLVIII just two days away, on Friday evening "Piers Morgan Live" welcomes one of the big game's first stars, as Joe Namath joins the program for a primetime, face to face interview.

The man who famously guaranteed victory in 1969's Super Bowl III, "Broadway Joe" was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985. But nearly forty years after concluding a career that included more than 27 thousand passing yards, Namath admits that the brutality of the game he loves has taken its toll.

Speaking with Piers Morgan, tonight the 70-year-old reveals details of health issues that he's experiencing, and the results of testing he's undergone:

"I was thinking I have grandchildren, I have daughters. It behooved me to find out what was going on," Namath tells the host. "There were areas in my brain where the cells had ceased, quieted down tremendously. We were concerned a bit and so I have had some treatment and I feel great."

During the course of a career that covered 13 seasons, Namath threw 3,762 passes, completing almost half. Four times he was named an AFL All-Star, and was named to the Pro Bowl in 1972. But for all his charisma, charm, poise, and moxie, Namath admits that even he isn't immune to the pounding taken in the pocket:

"I can count the times that I had situations where I hit the ground, hit in the head, lose it, you don't know for a while," says the number one overall pick in the 1965 AFL draft. "We used to call it 'getting your bell rung.' And then whenever you took some time, maybe a little oxygen, you went back to work."

Proving that even in serious times, he's nothing if not a good sport, Namath has some fun with Morgan:

"Let's move on to the game on Sunday," says the host, switching gears.

"What game," asks Joe, with a sly smile.

"Oh dear, it's even worse than I thought," laughs Morgan.

Watch the clip, and listen to the interview, as Namath offers additional insight into his career, and the challenge of balancing the impact it's had on his post-football life. And, for the full interview with "Joe Willie," including his prediction for Sunday's Super Bowl, watch CNN at 9 p.m.
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Filed under: The Big Story
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. thecatwhispererblog

    So, what is your point CNN? Is the next agenda going to be ending the NFL? Introducing flag football? If you don't know you're going to get hurt and have long term effects from playing this sport when you start, you're already a lost weed in a big field. These guys already make millions a year. That isn't enough to take care of health issues down the road?

    These poor babies. Maybe they shouldn't play. The NFL shouldn't have given them a single dime extra than their already massive salaries. A travesty.

    January 31, 2014 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Charlie Potatoes

    Ask Harvey Weinstein who Phillip Seymour Hoffman buys his dope from.
    Or is he too busy giving him an anal.

    February 2, 2014 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Michael J. Fitzpatrick

    Attention!!! I have already informed Ottawa ON Can. That fight 370 Boeing 777, flipped during its flight, I am working on Lon & Lat. from a fannig. you should be able to figure exactly where I am looking towards. Please do not interupt my train of mind. when plane flips it does not due a UEE.

    March 14, 2014 at 1:06 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. david dee

    Namath, million dollar arms and 10 cent knees.

    March 28, 2014 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply

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