Sports

25+ Former NFL Players With CTE  

Ranker NFL
52 items

One of the biggest clouds hanging over the NFL in recent years has been the growing specter of head injuries, concussions, and CTE. As more and more former players reveal they are living with dementia and other degenerative brain diseases, the game of football has had to face some tough questions about player safety and what is being done to prevent this terrible illness.

Right now, it is impossible to know how many NFL players have CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) because the diagnosis can only be confirmed after death. But increasingly, players are leaving their brains to science to study the disease, making the connection between CTE and football clearer by the day. 

The 52 NFL players on this list were all confirmed to have been suffering from CTE. Some of them died of natural causes but debilitated by disease, while others like Junior Seau and Adrian Robinson have been added to the growing list of NFL players with CTE who killed themselves.

As the years go on and this list grows, the NFL will be forced to reckon with the years of trauma players have suffered while playing a game, many since before even high school. There has been a CTE settlement with some families, but there will likely be many more before the issue is put to bed.

Jason Hairston is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 25+ Former NFL Players With CTE
Photo: UC Davis/YouTube
Jason Hairston

Date of birth: July 17, 1971 
Date of death: September 4, 2018 (aged 47)

NFL career: 1995-1996

Dwight Clark is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 25+ Former NFL Players With CTE
Photo:  Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY)
Dwight Clark

Date of birth: January 8, 1957
Date of death: June 4, 2018 (aged 61)

NFL career: 1979–1987 (player), 1990-2001 (executive)

More Dwight Clark

#34 of 250 on The Best Wide Receivers of All Time #6 of 36 on The Best NFL Wide Receivers of the '80s #24 of 39 on The Best NFL Wide Receivers of the '70s #16 of 55 on The Best NFL Buys for the Money

Tommy Nobis is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 25+ Former NFL Players With CTE
Photo:  Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY)

Date of birth: September 20, 1943
Date of death: December 13, 2017 (aged 74)

NFL career: 1966-1976

More Tommy Nobis

#52 of 382 on People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame #67 of 155 on The Greatest Linebackers of All Time #8 of 72 on The Best Texas Longhorns Football Players of All Time #28 of 61 on The Best NFL Players From Texas

see more on Tommy Nobis
Daniel Te'o-Nesheim is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 25+ Former NFL Players With CTE
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Daniel Te'o-Nesheim

Date of birth: June 12, 1987
Date of death: October 29, 2017 (aged 30)

NFL career: 2010-2013