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Former Steelers receiver Antwaan Randle El: ‘If I could go back, I wouldn’t [play football]’


Ten years after he threw one of the most-celebrated passes in Steelers history, Antwaan Randle El has trouble walking down stairs.

“I have to come down sideways sometimes, depending on the day,” Randle El, 36, said. “Going up is easier actually than coming down.”

Randle El was an electric athlete, versatile enough to run a route on one play and throw a beautiful spiral on the next, as he did in Super Bowl XL when he found Hines Ward for a 43-yard touchdown on a wide receiver reverse pass. That his body has begun to betray him before his 40th birthday is hard to fathom. The crazy thing is that Randle El can feel his mind slipping, too.

“I ask my wife things over and over again, and she’s like, ‘I just told you that,’ ” Randle El said. “I’ll ask her three times the night before and get up in the morning and forget. Stuff like that. I try to chalk it up as I’m busy, I’m doing a lot, but I have to be on my knees praying about it, asking God to allow me to not have these issues and live a long life. I want to see my kids raised up. I want to see my grandkids.”

Randle El didn’t hesitate when asked if he regrets playing football.

“If I could go back, I wouldn’t,” he said. “I would play baseball. I got drafted by the Cubs in the 14th round, but I didn’t play baseball because of my parents. They made me go to school. Don’t get me wrong, I love the game of football. But, right now, I could still be playing baseball.”

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