Hines Ward talks about retirement and the NFL’s concussion problem

Former Steeler and new NBC NFL analyst Hines Ward joined guest to talk about his new rol

Ward said that he’s not going to miss training camp too badly, because he’ll still be involved in the game and not have to sleep in dorms.

Ward talked about concussions and some of the issues related to head injuries that the NFL is trying to deal with.

“I don’t think a lot of football players think about their life at 40,” Ward said.

Ward talked about the year that Aaron Rodgers and the Packers beat him in the Super Bowl. Ward said that Rodgers had three concussions that year and still played.

Bonnie asked Ward if he ever lied as a player about a concussion. He said he wasn’t sure what was a concussion when he played. “For me as a football player,” Ward said, “I just thought I got my bell rung. You don’t think getting your bell rung is a concussion.” Ward said he remembered everything leading up to it and afterward.

Ward is frustrated by inconsistency by the NFL. He said that they emphasize safety but want 18 regular-season games. And Ward said players have a choice of four or five helmets. “Why not mandate one helmet?” Ward said, and study the effects it had.

Ward did say that teams will pay less to a player with a concussion history, so players have an incentive to hide them.  Ward pointed to wide receiver Austin Collie, claiming teams don’t want him as much because of his medical history.