Bucs' Sapp to donate brain for research

The former Buc says he's donating his brain for research on game injuries and blasts the league for its response to players..

Warren Sapp -- Super Bowl champion, Hall of Famer and an NFL defensive tackle from 1995-2007 -- will donate his brain for research.

On Tuesday, Sapp made the announcement in a video for The Players Tribune. Specifically, Sapp's brain will go to the Concussion Legacy Foundation, which "is dedicated to advancing the study, treatment and prevention of the effects of brain trauma in athletes and other at-risk groups."

In that video, Sapp also detailed just how bad his memory has gotten since he retired. According to Sapp, he can't make it through a day without the help of his phone, which reminds him what to do every day..

Sapp, 44, said that he decided to donate his brain after he saw what NFL owners were saying about the lack of a connection between football and CTE. Last year, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that it's "absurd" to say that there's a link between football and CTE. Colts owner Jim Irsay also said something similar. So did Texans owner Bob McNair.

"I mean, where are you getting this information from and then spewing it out as if it's fact?" Sapp said.

Of note: A study in 2015 found that 87 out of 91 former NFL players had CTE. Last year, The New York Times reported that the NFL used flawed concussion research and hid 100 concussions. The NFL demanded a retraction, but The Times held firm.

Sapp then went on to detail the horrors of memory loss.

"We play in a macho league and we're talking about Hall of Famers now who are immortalized forever, made busts and everything, legends of the game. There's no way any of us want to really admit that we can't remember how to get home, or a grocery list that the wife has given us or how to go pick up our kids to the school, or whatever it may be," he said.

"You try to (say), 'All right, I'm gonna get a little more sleep, maybe it's something I did last night, maybe it's something I drank' or, whatever it is. You try to find a reason that it's not my brain. That I'm not deteriorating right before my own eyes. It's the most frightening feeling, but it's also a very weakening feeling because you feel like a child. I need help. I need somebody to help me find something that I could've found with my eyes closed in the dead of night, half asleep."

Now? Sapp needs his phone to constantly remind him of his daily duties.

"I used to call myself an elephant in the room. Never forget anything. Man, I wake up now and be like, 'OK, what are we doing? Let me get the phone.' I mean with the reminders in the phones it really helped me get through my day with appointments and different things that I have to do, because it's just, I can't remember anymore like I used to," he said.

"And it's from the banging we did as football players. We used to tackle them by the head. Used to grab face masks. We used to allow Deacon Jones to do the head slap. All of that was something that we had to take away from the game. We used to hit quarterbacks below the knees. Now it's a strike zone. Let's keep making the game better."

Sapp, who spent nine season with the Buccaneers and four more with the Raiders, retired in 2008 and was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 2013. In his career, he went to seven Pro Bowls and was named First Team All-Pro four times. He won a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay during the 2002 season.

After retiring, Sapp worked as an analyst for NFL Network, but lost his job in 2015 after he was arrested in Arizona and charged with assaulting and soliciting a prostitute. He pleaded guilty to both charges. Later that year, he was involved in a physical altercation with his ex-girlfriend in Las Vegas. He ended up taking a plea deal and avoided jail time.

RELATED: Aaron Hernandez's brain going to researchers

 

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