by Chris Lingebach

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – One of the harshest realities of the NFL is the long-term effects players are left with, well after the short-term financial gains, and over time, the fame wear off.

It’s even sadder when you see a player in recent memory fall on hard times, either financially or medically.

There’s just something about seeing that Clinton Portis has filed a concussion lawsuit against the NFL – over his periodic loss of vision and memory, and bouts with chronic headaches – that just rocks you to your core as resident of the Washington metropolitan area.

The inner-kid in you screams out ‘Hey, that was my favorite player! Just two years ago!’

Portis, whose lawsuit became public on Wednesday, says it’s not about financial gain. He made more than $50 million throughout his career. It’s about the NFL doing what’s right.

“I think when you think about the future of yourself, or other people, I think so many people look at it as a financial situation. ‘Oh, he’s just trying to get money. Or he’s trying to do this,’” Portis told 106.7 The Fan’s Lavar and Dukes on Wednesday.

“I think when you stand for the integrity, and what’s right is right, and what’s wrong is wrong, of course I put on the helmet. I didn’t know what a concussion was,” Portis continued. “I put on the helmet for the love of the game. Now all of a sudden, if it’s something that you didn’t pre-warn me about, or you let me in on, like when you told me ‘Hey, shake it off. It’s cobwebs. You fine,’ I didn’t know the diagnostics of a concussion. So when you tell me ‘Shake it off, go back in,’ you know, I’m going back in because I want to play the game. I have a love for the game and a passion for the game to go out and throw my body around.”

It’s kind of scary to think that a guy like Portis, who played his last down in the NFL only two years ago, already has to face the reality of long-term consequences of his occupation, which he’ll likely deal with for the rest of his days.

“I don’t know, my vision, my headaches, my loss of memory, I don’t know what it’s from,” Portis said. “But if it’s from concussions then I didn’t know this. It could be from old age. I’m only 31, so who knows?”

“I don’t know why sometimes I don’t remember what I just did, or my short-term or my long-term or if headlights hit me coming direct on, I squint,” Portis said. “I had Lasik. So, I never had a problem before with my vision, so who’s to say?”

While admitting the NFL will never be a safe sport, Portis said his ultimate goal is for players to be informed, and for ignorance towards concussions to be a thing of the past.

“I go to golfing events with old legends, and when you hear them talk and how they move around, it’s like whoa, maybe if this was something we was exposed to before it would be totally different,” he explained. “But when you look and the older guys, and the guys that’s fighting and the guys that’s really in financial trouble, or the guys who weren’t in the same position that I was in to be successful, and get rewarded for my success, then it’s a stepping stone. I think for myself, because it’s well-documented of my concussions. It’s not like ‘Oh, nobody ever knew I had a concussion.’ My concussions were well documented.”

He always did lead with his heart, not his helmet.