Ray Lucas Shares How NFL Impacted His Post-Playing Career
Former NFL quarterback Ray Lucas joins Jeff Thurn on Monday's edition of Overtime Live from Radio Row at the Super Bowl.
Lucas shares his journey in the NFL:
"Well I started my NFL career as a special teams guy for two years for Parcells and eventually they had me play in New England Kordell Stewart and Mark Brunell. I guess I did so well, Parcells was like maybe you can play quarterback. When I got to the Jets, I think my first year there I started playing quarterback and stopped playing special teams. Played quarterback for the next six years. Played eight years in the NFL. Had a back injury I sustained while I was playing for the Jets. I was lifting and hank cleaning about 425 pounds, and leather strap broke. So I had two herniated disks inverted that I got diagnosed with. So they said one of two things could happen. Number one, you get the surgery and never play football again. Or two, deal with it. Try to rehab it and continue. But the asterisks by that one was if you get hit in a certain way, you could get paralyzed. Of course the mind of a football player is I'm taking number two. Let's go. After I retired in 2005, I had back surgery. I had four and five fused together. They took three completely out because they were crushed. Put an artificial disk and then I started my life. I was working in the city. I was doing very well. Then all of a sudden my neck started hurting. It started off pretty simple, just pain and something I could deal with. You know you have a high tolerance for pain if you played as long as I did. But it got progressively worse quickly. It was so bad where my arms would spasm and flare out. Usually I could feel it and tuck them down, but I didn't have insurance. The five years of NFL insurance had run out. I checked with doctor to see if he could do IOU for 250,000 for surgery. He said nah. I said I will get you the money, just not right away. But next thing they did was they gave me painkillers. What started out as a normal pill intake. I was getting about a 120 a month, which escalated about 400. Which then escalated to 800. At my worse, I was taking 1,400 pills a month. Sometimes 50 or 80 a day on the real bad days..."
Lucas played for the Patriots, Jets, Dolphins and Ravens from 1996 to 2003.
*Thurn is Live from Radio Row at the Super Bowl all week long on ESPN 99.1. Follow him on Twitter @jtespn991 and Sam @samtastad.