Hall of Famer Lem Barney: NFL won't be around in 10-20 years

Lem Barney in 1992 during Hall of Fame weekend in Canton, Ohio. (USATSI)
Pro Football Hall of Famer Lem Barney played 11 NFL seasons, all for the Detroit Lions. On Friday, speaking at the Sound Mind Sound Body Football Academy in Southfield, Mich., Barney said he doesn't think football will make it another two decades.

"The game is becoming more deadly today," he said. "It's a great game. I think it's the greatest game if you like gladiators. It's the greatest game for yesteryear's gladiators. But I can see in the next 10 to maybe 20 years, society will alleviate football altogether."

Barney isn't alone. Even current players think today's NFL won't last. Broncos defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson, also in attendance Friday, agreed.

"They're trying to make the game safer, but it's a gladiators' sport and there's only so much safety you can bring to it," Vickerson said. "The best thing we can do is give these kids tools to learn how to tackle the right away."

And last offseason, safety Bernard Pollard, then with the Ravens, said football wouldn't exist in 20-30 years.

Barney, who is one of the countless former players suing the league for how it handled head injuries, figures he had seven or eight concussions during his career.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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