Earl Campbell: ALS is ruled out

Posted: September 19, 2012

PRO FOOTBALL Hall of Famer Earl Campbell said Tuesday he is undergoing nerve treatment after doctors ruled out concerns that he might have Lou Gehrig's disease.

Campbell, 57, will receive treatment and testing in Austin, Texas, this weekend aimed at trying to "trigger the nerves a little faster," said Tyler Campbell, his son. He said his father was otherwise doing well but acknowledged the process will affect the former Heisman Trophy winner's recent physical rehabilitation to move around quicker.

Earl Campbell, who uses a walker, underwent knee surgery last year and has other health problems from a punishing football career spent as one of the game's great power running backs. He said he suspects the nerve damage was also the result of his playing days.

"I did something to my body to get that, and you know what I did," Earl Campbell said. "I think some of it came from playing football, playing the way I did."

Campbell revealed his upcoming treatment while announcing scholarship winners through his Campbell Project for MS, which raises awareness and funds for multiple sclerosis. Tyler Campbell was diagnosed with MS in 2007 while playing football at San Diego State.

"It's not that something is horribly wrong with him," Tyler Campbell said of his father. "He's doing awesome."

Earl Campbell said doctors described his nerve problem as "C.O.I.D.P." - perhaps meaning CIDP, or chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy. According to the National Institutes of Health, the condition is a neurological disorder that can cause gradually declining strength and sensory function in the legs and arms.

Campbell said he recently underwent testing in Houston at the urging of his neurologist. Doctors there diagnosed him with the nerve issue but not Lou Gehrig's disease, which Campbell's neurologist thought was a possibility, according to Campbell.

Lou Gehrig's disease - also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) - is a fatal degenerative nerve condition.

Campbell spent almost his entire 8 years in the NFL with the Houston Oilers before retiring after the 1985 season, his career cut short by the toll of his punishing playing style.

Noteworthy * 

Will Smith and Anthony Hargrove met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about the Saints bounty scandal and Scott Fujita's meeting was postponed. Fujita, now with Cleveland, is undergoing treatment for an injured left knee which he hurt during the preseason and couldn't come to New York, the NFLPA said.

The players had to meet with Goodell after the suspensions he placed on them were lifted by an appeals panel. Fujita, Smith, Hargrove and Jonathan Vilma were penalized by Goodell for their roles in the New Orleans bounty program, which ran from 2009-11.

* Atlanta running back Michael Turner was jailed on charges of drunken driving and speeding early Tuesday, just hours after he scored a touchdown in the team's win over Denver. A Gwinnett County police officer pulled over Turner's black Audi R8 on Interstate 85 northeast of Atlanta after clocking the car at 97 mph - 32 mph over the speed limit, police said. He was arrested after a field sobriety test.

* Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler acknowledged that he was wrong to shove left tackle J'Marcus Webb on the sideline during the loss at Green Bay last Thursday. He has no second thoughts about yelling at him, however.

"I probably shouldn't have bumped him, I'll go with that," Cutler told WMVP-AM in Chicago. "As far as me yelling at him and trying to get him going in the game, I don't regret that."

Cutler drew widespread attention for berating and bumping Webb on the sideline. Bears defensive back D.J. Moore this week said the quarterback was wrong to go after Webb like that.

* Washington placed linebacker Brian Orakpo (shoulder) and defensive end Adam Carriker (knee) on injured reserve and replaced them by promoting defensive end Doug Worthington from the practice squad and signing linebacker Markus White from Tampa Bay's practice squad.

* Miami general manager Jeff Ireland admits he muttered a profanity as he walked away from a Dolphins fan who said he didn't like the team's direction and suggested he fire himself at halftime of the team's most recent game.

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