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Good read, I dont know if I would have it in me to not just tell the Doc to take it off and start rehabbing with a prothesis.

Reggie you are not forgotten in my book, it has taken a long while but the Bengals finally have a defense that is as good as the ones you played on.

Stay strong and Who-Dey!

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I can't put myself in Reggie's shoes so I want to be careful not to be too critical of him but I wish he didn't have such an attitude towards Mike Brown and the Bengals. I'd admire him as a class act if he said he didn't blame the Bengals and that although the infection he got post playing days has been a horrible break, he doesn't blame anyone. He clearly can't even articulate what he wants from the Bengals because he knows there's nothing they can do for him. Does he want a picture of him in action behind a concession stand?

Also I can't imagine him "retiring" from Disney and giving up health insurance. If he really did that voluntarily then he screwed up. Given his health at the time, maintaining health insurance had to be a priority

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  • 10 months later...

Sometimes, stories have consequences. Good ones.

The last year has given him increased peace of mind, too. "I've made a quantum leap away from all the anger that was boiling inside of me,'' he says. "There's a purpose for this pain. Telling the story of meeting this type of challenge helps lots of people seeking answers for their own multiple challenges.''

An outpouring of support followed the publication of his story. "So many blessings,'' Williams says. The football coach at his alma mater Dartmouth, Buddy Teevens, instituted an award in Williams' name, given to the Big Green player who "through leadership in action and word has made Dartmouth a better place.'' Williams presented it earlier this year.

Thousands of comments via social media let Reggie know that, though his fight is solitary, he's not alone. Mike Brown donated what Williams termed a "significant'' amount of money to Dartmouth, on behalf of the Reggie Williams Award.

But that's not the most amazing thing by far.

And so now, a man who a year ago could not walk without crutches is planning on running in the near future...He wants his first run to be at Paul Brown Stadium.

There is no doctor on the planet now – at least none that Williams has encountered – that will tell him anything except amputation is the only option. The technology that would allow Williams functional use of the leg is just beyond the sunrise. It's out there, dawning, mostly as an answer to disabled American war veterans, a notion Williams finds ironic. "Accepting gifts of war, when my problem came out of sports,'' he says. But it's not yet practical.

Good luck, Reggie. Keep pouring it on.


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  • 1 year later...

Reggie fighting to come back from a stroke on NYE:



As the contentious scrum between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers played out in front of his television screen Saturday night, Reggie Williams tried to make sense of it all. Then it got personal.

"The gift of life has very little nastiness in it," Williams said. "There are ways to compete and live without that nastiness."

That wasn't just the former football player talking. Bengal Blood runs deep in his DNA. As a former Bengals right outside linebacker from 1976 to 1989, Williams can relate to the competitive fire of each and every snap. But what happened Saturday in Cincinnati was different. It got ugly, unprofessional and unwatchable. There is not a lot to be proud of today if you root for either team.

Yet there is a deeper and more personal perspective. Williams still competes and fights every day.

He fights to keep a right leg that has become his mangled shrine, honoring his high threshold of pain and perseverance.

He fights to regain full use of his speech, a gift he lost when he suffered a stroke on New Year's Eve.

He competes to be able to achieve his ultimate dream — to run again.

"It's not the worst loss l've gone through," Williams said, getting back to the AFC playoff game Saturday night. "I can take comfort in that."

Williams competed in two Super Bowls and lost both. It is a significant part of Cincinnati's NFL playoff misery. The Bengals have not won a playoff game in 25 years, the season after Williams retired. He has since watched from a distance, even as he moved to Florida as the point person to launch Disney's Wide World of Sports complex.

Unfortunately, the losses have piled on for Williams, all part of the collateral damage of playing football. He's gone through 24 knee surgeries, three right-knee replacements and another on his left as well as multiple knee and bone infections. He suffered a tear and rupture in his aorta in October 2014 while still living in Orlando.

And then he moved to Punta Gorda in the summer of 2015, looking for "one or two more degrees of warmth," alongside the Peace River on the Florida Peninsula.

On New Year's Eve, he settled into a bar to watch the Alabama-Michigan State college playoff game. Bama's beatdown of the Spartans hadn't started yet when Williams' right arm went haywire, jerking up uncontrollably. Within minutes, the gift of speech was gone.

"I had a stroke," Williams said. "I was fortunate to get to the hospital quickly. Since then, I've been fighting to regain what was lost. It's been a scary undertaking."

Since his release from a hospital three days after the incident, Williams has managed to regain most of his speech, but now adds speech therapy to the daily grind of therapy on his legs. The journey has taken him back to the days when he was a kid at the Michigan School for the Deaf. Williams was born with a hearing and speech impediment.

Life challenges us with obstacles every days. Williams seems to have it considerably tougher than most. His challenges are big 'ol boulders, but never unmovable objects.

"You get knocked down, you get back up," Williams said. "The process of getting up is very familiar to me."

That kid from the Michigan School for the Deaf became a graduate of Dartmouth, a standout NFL player, a Cincinnati City councilman, the NFL's Man of the Year in 1986, the architect of Disney Sports and now embraces the challenges of his physical battles.

He has dreamed of running again — a mantra of "Run Reggie Run" — as I suggested in this space a while back.

It is always easy in life to be a front-runner. Williams is at the back of the pack again, starting over, but don't expect him to stay there very long.

His Bengals continue to find ways to lose, and in so many ways, sully the brand.

And then there is Reggie Williams.

Life sets him up to fail, continually, yet he refuses.

At least there's one Bengal we can all be proud of this week.



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