Dementia took Vikings star before ALS killed him

November 8, 2015 - als

MINNEAPOLIS — Linebacker Fred McNeill, who played all 12 of his NFL seasons with a Minnesota Vikings in a 1970s and 1980s, has died, according to former teammate and tighten crony Matt Blair.

McNeill, who had been vital in a Southern California nursing home and battling dementia, was 63. He died Monday night of complications of amyotrophic parallel sclerosis (ALS), according to Blair.

Blair, who lives in a Twin Cities, pronounced Wednesday that he and McNeill “were some-more brothers than friends.” The dual were selected in a same NFL draft, were lifetime Vikings and late after a same season.

“Our rookie year was a best year,” Blair said. “After that initial year, we stayed in a same apartment. … we went to LA to accommodate his family, and we became good friends and hung out together.”

Blair pronounced he final saw McNeill in Aug during a revisit to Los Angeles.

“He was doing OK,” he said. “… But after we left, he was put in this 24/7 sanatorium for ALS [also famous as Lou Gehrig’s disease]. That’s a thing that unequivocally got into his system.”

In Super Bowl XI, Minnesota’s Fred McNeill (54) blocked a initial punt ever in 4 years of NFL punting for Oakland’s Ray Guy as a Raiders’ Mark Van Eeghen (30) missed a block.

In Super Bowl XI, Minnesota’s Fred McNeill (54) blocked a initial punt ever in 4 years of NFL punting for Oakland’s Ray Guy as a Raiders’ Mark Van Eeghen (30) missed a block.


McNeill’s genocide has left Blair beholden for his possess ability to consider clearly though wondering since his 1,400-plus tackles spared him what McNeill endured.

“I only can’t trust that I’m not going by what Fred went through,” Blair said. “I’m only thankful.”

McNeill was a Vikings’ first-round breeze collect out of UCLA in 1974. Strong, quick and durable, McNeill late in 1985 with some-more than 1,000 career tackles, fixation him among a franchise’s leaders in that category.

Vikings star defensive lineman Jim Marshall, who was a teammate during a initial half of McNeill’s career, pronounced he knew McNeill was confronting health problems, though still a news “caught me by surprise.”

Marshall described McNeill as a “great chairman and only a illusory linebacker. … He always did his job.”

McNeill and Marshall were among hundreds of former NFLers who filed one of a initial lawsuits opposite a joining over a affects of concussions suffered while playing.

“A lot of us have had some problems,” a 77-year-old Marshall pronounced Wednesday. “Fred was only 63 years old. You only don’t design him to go that soon.”

A connoisseur of William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul — McNeill began his authorised studies during his final NFL deteriorate — McNeill became a counsel after his personification days though his cognitive problems cost him his pursuit with a Twin Cities law organisation in 1996.

“As his illness took hold, it became some-more and some-more formidable for him to duty as a lawyer,” Barry Reed, one of McNeill’s law partners said. “Of march nobody knew during that time that there was any kind of mind emanate that was causing his problems . He was a funny, intelligent and desirable man.”

Reed, who graduated from UCLA during a same time as McNeill, pronounced their attribute helped him “to see football from a players’ indicate of view. … The assault and savagery go distant over anything we can see or clarity from a stands. we was on a sidelines with him only once and was dumbfounded by a loyal inlet of a game. He paid a cost for a ratings and a ad income that feed a beast.

“I will never see football a same approach . It finished a life of a really good man.”

McNeill’s mental problems started surfacing about 15 years after withdrawal a NFL. His insanity was rigourously diagnosed in 2009.

“I’m happy to be alive,” McNeill pronounced in an talk in 2011 with a Vikings Update website. “I have been advantageous in a lot of opposite ways. we was in a position where we was creation flattering good money. we was an profession for over 20 years.

“Right now, I’m in a position of shutting down my office. Essentially I’m perplexing to get some-more assistance since of a impact of personification football.”

He concurred in a talk that he didn’t have to play football, “but if we knew afterwards not to use my helmet as a apparatus to tackle people we consider we could have been in a position to equivocate a impact that I’m experiencing now.”

McNeill and his wife, Tia, distant after they changed to Southern California, though she remained concerned in his life and helped him investigate a affects of football on his mental health.

“There would be some bouts of anger, some only over a simplest of things,” she pronounced in an talk with WCCO-TV, Channel 4, in 2012. “I would be like, ‘where is this entrance from? This is not Fred.’ ”

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