Steve DeBerg, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback, has played 15 NFL seasons, more than any other active quarterback. In that time, he has taken his share of hits, so we asked him to recall the 10 hardest. Here they are, with his comments about each.
1 through 5. I can't remember.
6. Free safety Vencie Glenn, San Diego Chargers, 1989. It was an all-out blitz on third down, and the pass fell incomplete. He came right up the gut, and his helmet hit me under my chin. He took me off my feet. I was knocked out for about 20 seconds, and later I had to have 13 stitches, but I didn't miss a snap.
7. Defensive end Lee Roy Selmon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1979. Lee Roy squared up on me. The first thing that hit the ground was the back of my head. I was blind in my left eye for more than a half hour—and I didn't even know it. I went to the team doctor and he held up two fingers. I couldn't see the left sides of the fingers—the side Selmon had come from. I sat on the bench for a quarter.
8. Defensive end Fred Dean, Chargers, 1980 preseason game. The coach called a rollout on first down. Well, I thought Dean was split out too far to be blocked, so I audibled. On second down, he called the same rollout, and I audibled again. Finally, on third down he called the rollout again. So I said to myself, He obviously thinks we can block Dean. Wrong. I came off the field, and all I could do was whisper. I had to wear a voice box for six games. There was an off-on switch on my face mask, and sometimes I'd forget to turn it off. I'd call the play in the huddle, and the whole stadium would hear it.
9. Linebacker Charles Haley, San Francisco 49ers, 1986. Somehow during the hit I got a puncture wound on my right elbow. Blood was squirting everywhere. The cut must have been caused by a screw on Haley's helmet. Of course, my mom thinks he had a weapon with him—like he'd be carrying a screwdriver. You know mothers, they're convinced there's a conspiracy to get their sons. Anyway, I wound up throwing seven interceptions.
10. Defensive end Jacob Green, Seattle Seahawks, 1983. Green came in from the right and drove me into the turf. He was standing over me, taunting me, yelling at me, telling me that I was a big baby and a sissy. No way was I going to let him run me off the field. They had called pass interference on the play, and the ball was on the one. We made the touchdown on the second try. I came to the sideline and told the doctors that there was a problem. That's when I found out that my clavicle was sticking straight up.