Mike Ditka, the head coach of the Super Bowl–winning 1985 Chicago Bears team, says that if he had a young son today he would not let him play football.
“That’s sad. I wouldn’t. And my whole life was football. I think the risk is worse than the reward. I really do,” Ditka told HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The episode, set to air Tuesday, features a report about the excessive use of painkillers and narcotics by players to overcome injuries and get back on the field.
The report says that 30 years after Ditka’s “greatest NFL team of all-time,” many of his legendary players are dealing with serious debilitations as a consequence.