In a recent interview, NFL player Chandler Jones expressed skepticism about the existence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease linked to repeated head injuries.
It should be noted that Chandler is the brother of longtime UFC champion Jon Jones. While Jon has never spoken directly on the subject of CTE, he was previously spotted saying that he plans to heavily rely on BJJ in future to ‘save brain cells’ in the tail end of his career.
CTE has been found posthumously in the brains of many former football players and boxers. It is believed to be caused by repetitive blows to the head, resulting in a buildup of tau proteins that can lead to memory loss, impaired judgment, and other cognitive problems later in life. However, Jones stated he does not believe CTE is a real condition.
“I don’t believe in CTE,” Jones told MMA legend Rampage Jackson. “CTE is not real. Just like the word conspiracy isn’t real. The CIA put out the word conspiracy to scare people.”
Jones went on to suggest that concerns over CTE are discouraging physical play in football.
“Before I got out of the NFL, I was when I heard the word, CTE, you had me tackling like this. You know what I’m saying? Back when I before I heard the worst CTE, I was banging. I wasn’t putting my head in Lauren and banging people in the head, but I was tackling,” Jones said.
He believes warnings about CTE are threatening the future of football itself.
“Mark my words in 2050, there would be no NFL. 20:50, there’ll be no NFL. It’s getting too soft. It’s flags for pu**y ad hits. It’s flags for p***y hits,” he stated.
Jones’ comments go against the widespread scientific consensus on CTE as a real consequence of repeated head trauma. However, he believes the risks are overstated.
Jones had a successful NFL career as a linebacker, winning a Super Bowl championship with the New England Patriots. He racked up over 100 career sacks playing for the Patriots and Arizona Cardinals.
Some analysts have speculated Jones could attempt an NFL comeback after sitting out the 2022 season amid personal issues. It remains to be seen if his controversial comments questioning CTE’s validity will impact his prospects of returning to the league.