In 2012, the NFL designated tens of millions of dollars to concussion research in order to finally set the record straight about the long-term effects playing football can have on players. This was supposed to restore faith in the NFL and calm down rumors that they were downplaying the potential effects.

However, according to a Congressional Report, the NFL backed out of that gift because it would go to Robert Stern, who has past problems with the NFL. Instead, they tried to allocate that funding to league-approved researchers.

On Monday, former NFL player and CU grad Michael Pritchard joined Eric Goodman and Les Shapiro on Afternoon Drive on Mile High Sports AM 1340 to share his thoughts on the NFL.

“They are just trying to protect themselves like they always have,” said Pritchard. “It’s bad, it’s shameful, it’s horrible, but we are talking about the National Football League.”

There have been no shortage of controversies within the NFL in recent years, especially surrounding concussions in general.

When asked if the report surprised him, Pritchard said, “Well it should, but it doesn’t. I’m not even shocked at all. You have the National Football League that is basically trying to shape the information.”

Originally the NFL was designating the money to research to alleviate the tension around the concussion topic, but this proved to be more problematic for them.

AFTERNOON DRIVE LIVE STREAM“If they progressed with some type of research that they funded, and all the sudden, this research shows the data. Now you’re talking about the National Football League being more liable, and maybe subjecting themselves to more lawsuits,” Pritchard said.

Although the NFL has tried to suppress these findings, concussion research data has come out, and players are taking note.

“You’re seeing guys retire sooner. You’re seeing guys really be satisfied with four or five years and one contract because they don’t want to subject themselves,” Pritchard said.

When asked if he would still consider playing in the NFL, Pritchard said, “Yeah, but I would play differently, Eric. I wouldn’t lower my head if I knew this information was out there. I wouldn’t play the way that I played understanding repeated concussions can lead to CTE.”

This seems to be the consensus around the league, as players like Calvin Johnson and Jerod Mayo have been retiring early despite their successes.

The Congressional Report is only the first step toward transparency in the NFL, and more needs to be done to protect the game as we know it.

To hear more, listen to the full discussion below.

Catch Afternoon Drive every weekday from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. on Mile High Sports AM 1340 or stream live any time for the best coverage of Colorado sports from Denver’s biggest sports talk lineup.