Who: Dick Anderson.
Current age: 71.
Dolphins career: 1968-1977.
NFL career: 1968-1977.
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Position: Defensive back.
How are you today? “I played football for 10 years so certainly I have aches and pains. I’ve had seven [left] knee operations, but I haven’t had a replacement and it doesn’t hurt. My neck and shoulders probably bother me more than anything. I feel very fortunate. I can still play golf and ski and lead a pretty active life. I try to exercise. The older you get you want your health to be good.”
“I’m over 70, and at what point in time do you start forgetting things if you’re over 70 and you don’t have cognitive issues? At this point in time, I feel I’m normal and fine for someone who’s 71 years old. Whatever that may be. I’m in better health than the majority of them because I do exercise and try to eat decently. I don’t smoke, don’t drink too much. Those are the things that are going to keep you alive.”
How are your teammates? “It’s terribly sad to see someone you were close with, that you won with, deteriorate in their mental capacity. Nick [Buoniconti] is a very close friend. I’m on the Miami Project board. I’ve seen that change over the last two or three years. So it’s not something I’m surprised finding out now. I’ve known about it for some time. I still have very good conversations with Nick to this day. But I know it’s frustrating for him that he’s not as sharp as he once was. What he accomplished in life was remarkable. It’s terrible that someone that productive and who gave so much of himself to the community and the medical community, that this is happening to him now. ”
“If you look at statistics, everyone on the team is over 66 years old. The oldest one on our team was Earl Morrall. He passed away and he was 80 when they had the funeral. Nick may be the second-oldest at 76. And if you take 50 players, there are nine that have passed away, and I think five or six were from cancer, one was a heart defect, one was an auto accident. Earl did have some dementia and Parkinson’s at the end of his life. We know about Nick and we know about Jim Kiick because it’s been written about. And there are three other players that have symptoms, but I’m not going name their names.
On Norm Evans: “He was having a heart procedure and they cut the carotid artery. So he had a stroke because of the carotid artery. That’s what his medical problem has been. It’s hard. When I get to Seattle, I usually call him and go see him. The stroke did affect him.”
Any regrets? “You’re always defined by something in your life more than anything else. Having played for the Dolphins and won two Super Bowls is probably that for me. I’ve been very fortunate throughout my life. Some of the fortune is hard work. But much of it is football led me to be able to do things I would not have otherwise been able to do. I doubt I would have been elected to the state senate had I not been a Dolphin. Because I spoke to every service club in town. Certain things in life define you, and there’s a distinct possibility I’m going to have cognitive issues in my life but, you know, you can always look back and make comments about what happened yesterday. You can only do something about what happens tomorrow.”
“People ask me if they should let their son or grandson play at a young age. I think if they want to, let them do it.”