Bo Jackson's Big Regret: 'I Would Have Taken a Different Path'

"If I had young kids, and if they came and said, 'Dad, I want to play football,' I'd smack them in the mouth."

If Bo Jackson's kids told him they wanted to play football, "I'd smack them in the mouth,' the retired All-Star said. Credit: Mike Powell/Allsport/Getty

Back in 2013, Bo Jackson was named the Greatest Athlete of All Time by ESPN's Sport Science. It wasn't a huge surprise, either, seeing as Jackson is one of few athletes who managed to pull off being an All-Star in two major sports. Bo is the only one to do it as a member of the NFL and MLB, too, which only helps his case as the greatest of all time.

However, if Jackson could go back and do it all again, he'd probably just stick to baseball to avoid the toll football has – and could have – taken on his body. In an interview with The MMQB's Dominic Bonvissuto this week, Jackson was asked about the head injuries that have plagued retired NFL players and said, while he is "one of the fortunate ones" to not have long-term effects, he wouldn’t let his kids anywhere near the sport if they wanted to play because of what he now knows.

"If I had young kids, to be honest, and if they came and said, 'Dad, I want to play football,' I'd smack them in the mouth," said Jackson. "No. No. Because if I’d have known back then what I know now, to be honest with you, I probably would have taken a different path. I probably just would have played baseball."

Jackson even went on to describe the one time he had a concussion in the NFL.

"I had just run over somebody, and I was in the process of stepping on them and going down the field," Jackson continued. "Someone came from behind me and hit me right behind the ear. It was like someone short-circuited me. The ball came out and I fell on the ball, so I got it back. Something in my brain was telling me to get up, and don't let these guys see that you are hurt. I got up and walked to the sideline. I got through the crowd and went to sit on the bench, and right when my butt hit the bench, someone grabbed my arm and said, 'You're on the wrong side, motherfucker.'"