Bo Jackson revealed he had planned on retiring from the NFL after the 1990 season. Jackson still had a contract with the Los Angeles Raiders, but he planned to walk away to solely play baseball.
Jackson instead fractured and dislocated his left hip in the third quarter of the Raiders' playoff game in January of 1991.
Jackson thought it was simply a hip pointer, allowing him to return the next week to play against the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game.
Jackson, who suffered from hip necrosis that required surgery for an artificial hip, never put on a football uniform again.
“That week, three or four days before the playoff game,’’ Jackson says, “I sat down with Linda (his wife and mother of their three children) and told her that I was going to announce my retirement. When the season was over, we had made my mind up that I was going to do that. That was the plan.
“Well, the man upstairs changed that plan.
“I’m not a very religious guy, but I believe in God, and I believe God works things out for a reason. If I had retired before my contract was over, I would have probably been hated by Raiders fans forever.’’
Jackson says he would have never played football knowing what he knows now.
“If I knew back then what I know now,’’ Jackson tells USA TODAY Sports, “I would have never played football. Never. I wish I had known about all of those head injuries, but no one knew that. And the people that did know that, they wouldn’t tell anybody.
“The game has gotten so violent, so rough. We’re so much more educated on this CTE stuff (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), there’s no way I would ever allow my kids to play football today.
“Even though I love the sport, I’d smack them in the mouth if they said they wanted to play football.
“I’d tell them, 'Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.’ ’’