Lawrence Taylor presumably would have been an effective player in any era, but the former Giant and Hall of Fame linebacker believes that he was better suited to the game as it was played in his era than this one.
“Hey, I’m a physical type of player,” he said Tuesday during the BTIG Charity Day event in Manhattan. “I like to put hands on people to touch, to hit, and the game’s a little bit different now.
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“But is it a better game? I don’t think so; I don’t think so.”
Still, Taylor, 57, acknowledged it is a safer game than when he played in the 1980s and early ’90s.
Asked whether he is concerned about the aftereffects of concussions and the potential for brain disease, he said, “My wife tells me I’ve got concussions every day. I don’t really think about it. You can go get tested and see, but football is a tough life and things happen.
“But I think nowadays it’s a lot safer game to play. It’s a very safe game. The NFL, I feel, if guys do have concussions and do have problems it’s only right for them to make it right.”
So how does he feel overall after all he put himself through on football fields?
“I’m all right,” he said, “Listen, I play golf every day and I don’t hurt when I walk. Other than that, I have some problems. Of course I have some problems, because football is going to give you some. But for the most part I feel pretty good.”
Taylor attracted plenty of negative attention for his off-field problems during and after his playing days, including a history of drug abuse. How might he have fared playing in the social media era, with even more eyes on him?
“It’s a blessing and a curse, so that’s the way you have to look at it,” he said. “Social media and the rules right now, the NFL conduct rules now, are very much different than back in my day when we were called ‘gladiators’ and it was a plus to be tough. Nowadays, it’s not. It could have helped, it could have hurt. Who knows?”