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06/20/2016 at 9:57am

TMF's Study Hits Denver Post Game of Pain: Inside NFL

Game of Pain, part 2: Untangling the knots

Why former Bronco Jeb Putzier has turned to an array of therapies to ease his post-football Pain

By Nicki Jhabvala-Denver Post-Published June 17, 2016



With a greater awareness of football’s long-term effects on their health, many ex-players are anxiously searching for ways to not only treat pain but also prevent the onset of additional symptoms. Specialists in Colorado have joined the hunt.

Jeb Putzier knows how he got here, sitting on his couch on a recent Tuesday morning, his hair disheveled and his daily regimen of therapy and supplements scribbled on a calendar on the kitchen table. His thoughts can often be muddled, but some replays remain vivid.

He remembers the brutal blow delivered by New England cornerback Asante Samuel in 2005 that left him with six stitches and a jaw that still pops out. Putzier remembers the crushing hit by San Diego linebacker Steve Foley later that season that is still floating around the internet titled “Steve Foley almost kills Jeb Putzier.”

Putzier remembers his release from the Broncos seven years ago, and he certainly remembers the steep drop that followed: his suicide attempt and an acrimonious end to his marriage that limits visitations with his two young children to once every few weeks.

“My kids. If my kids weren’t here,” he says, “I’d already be dead.”


After suffering what he estimates were more than 1,000 concussions, as well as an array of physical injuries during his eight-year professional career as a tight end, seven of those in the NFL, Putzier now spends his time searching for ways to clear his mind and end his pain. His joints ache. His head hurts. And although his injuries are far from debilitating, his mind is constantly in overdrive, causing otherwise routine activities to exhaust him.


Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel pummels PutzierPutzier is hit hard by Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce

JOHN LEYBA, DENVER POST FILEPatriots cornerback Asante Samuel pummels Putzier during a game in 2005.

ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTOA week later, Putzier is hit hard by Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce.