Former Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Jack Rudnay is seen as one of the best centers in the 70’s. During his time in the NFL — all with the Chiefs — he was one of the toughest guys on the team, a trait that his body is paying for now.
Rudnay’s the guy who has dislocated every finger on both hands and dislocated both big toes so badly that they touched the top of each foot. Sometimes he has to turn on the ignition of his car with his left hand because the right hand won’t work. His blocking technique was to punch with both hands after centering the ball — ”maybe a million times,” he says. This destroyed his wrists. And once he busted the little finger on his right hand so badly that the bone protruded from the skin. He taped the pinky to his ring finger.
”The team doctor said, ‘You are through.’ I said, ‘Doc, you don’t understand. I’m kicking this guy’s ass!”’
He went back in, and blood from his pinky spattered the white pants of startled quarterback Mike Livingston and tailback Ed Podolak on each snap.
It might make your stomach turn a couple times (the dislocations I quoted here are nothing compared to the hip issues mentioned earlier in the article) but it’s important that as fans we keep in mind just what these guys are doing to their body every week. Equipment is getting better and doctors are (allegedly) being more cautious, but when a game is this violent you are never going to prevent long-term injuries.
I never had the pleasure of seeing Rudnay play, but he sounds like the type of guy you would kill to have line up for your team.