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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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