Who: Larry Little.
Current age: 71.
Dolphins career: 1969-1980
NFL career: 1969-1980. Member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Position: Offensive lineman.
How are you today? “I forget where I put things. I drop things. My hands shake a little when I’m writing or using the mouse. I attribute it to old age. My memory is still good. I go to work every day.”
“Overall, I’m pretty healthy. I had a hip replacement four years ago. I’ve always had a chronically bad shoulder. I’m 25 pounds overweight. I take medicine for blood pressure, cholesterol, borderline diabetes, gout. None of those issues have anything to do with football. I don’t take painkillers.”
“I do a lot of crossword puzzles to keep my brain fresh. Every day and especially on Sundays I’m doing my crosswords.”
How are your teammates? “It’s sad to see guys like Earl [Morrall], Bill [Stanfill], Nick [Buoniconti] and Jim [Kiick]. I feel bad for my teammates. I don’t feel scared but it’s concerning. I have to ask myself, ‘will I be in that condition a few years from now?’ I don’t think I have CTE or any of the symptoms but the worst thing is that you don’t know if you have CTE until you die.”
“I saw Nick some time after the White House ceremony in 2013 and he did not seem quite as outgoing as usual but I’m surprised at how quickly he’s deteriorated.”
“I was with Jim a few years ago at an event for Bob Griese in Indiana and I could see that Jim was slowing down and that something was wrong. I had to help him, make sure he was aware of details, get him where he needed to be on time. I told people, ‘I’ll take care of Jim. He’s my teammate.’ Last year at a Dolphins game, Jim was laughing and talking and he knew who everybody was.”
“I attended Hubert [Ginn’s] 70th birthday party in January in Savannah, [Georgia]. He had a caregiver with him. He was all right physically but mentally he has really deteriorated. I called him by the nickname I had given him: ‘Hey, Bulldog Dupree!’ Right off the bat he said, ‘Larry!’ We hugged. That made me feel better. Later, he had the microphone in his hand, but he was holding it down by his leg and I told him to hold it up to his mouth. I said, ‘Don’t forget now. Do what I say. I’m still your captain!’ We had a good laugh. After it was over, he forgot to say goodbye.”
Any regrets? “I would do it all over again. I could not have had a better profession at that age than playing in the NFL. I loved the game and I loved playing the game. No regrets.”
“I look at us compared to the great Pittsburgh teams and lot of Steelers died young. Percentage-wise our team is in decent shape, but those select few who have suffered makes it alarming. They were such vibrant personalities.”