Terry Beasley, the legendary Auburn wide receiver whose subsequent issues with brain trauma led to his involvement in a landmark class action lawsuit against the NFL, died Wednesday at the age of 73.
Terry Beasley, the Auburn star who sued the NFL over a concussion, has died at the age of 73.
by aparodyoflife ·
Holder of Auburn’s records for receiving yards (2,507) and touchdowns (29), Beasley played for the school from 1969 to 1971, teaming with star quarterback Pat Sullivan to form a lethal battery. Beasley’s toughness, as demonstrated on the field by his willingness to run routes over the middle and absorb punishment during football’s harshest era, led to countless injuries.
“That’s where they attack you,” he said in 2013 about facing forwards in midfield. “You better keep your head on a swivel, literally. Because someone’s going to turn it off.”
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By the time Beasley reached the NFL, after the San Francisco 49ers made him the 19th pick of the 1972 draft, his troubled body was beginning to fail him. His professional career lasted only three seasons.
Years after Beasley was drafted, his constant pain was making it difficult for him to sleep and get adequate rest. According to a 2013 profile in the Opelika-Auburn News, Beasley — who said at the time he had suffered at least 52 concussions — was hospitalized in 1992 for clinical depression and possible schizophrenia. These misdiagnoses were made before the medical community realized the way repetitive concussive and subconcussive impacts can lead to long-term brain trauma and the neurodegenerative disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and he was exposed to electroconvulsive therapy.
When Beasley spent time in the intensive care unit in 2013, his daughter said in a letter to Auburn fans that “pain management couldn’t fix it” and that he was having serious problems with his brain, lungs and heart.
In 2016, Beasley’s wife, Marilyn, said (via the Columbus (Georgia) Ledger-Enquirer) that his headaches were “so severe that he had to be hospitalized several times.”
Noting then that she was looking to get some help for her husband’s care through compensation from the NFL’s concussion settlement, estimated at the time at nearly $1 billion, Marilyn Beasley said: “We were hoping to hold the NFL accountable.” Responsibility for the things they did.” I did it to these guys and they had no regrets. “They had no regrets.”
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On Thursday, Moody Police Chief told the Montgomery Advertiser he knew that longtime city resident Terry Beasley had “some conflicts over the years with NFL stuff.”
“We would really hate to lose him as a Moody citizen,” added Smith, who could not immediately be reached Thursday night for further comment.
Beasley’s exploits at Auburn included a career-high 141 goals and a legendary run on a reverse play during the 1970 Iron Bowl that helped the Tigers mount a huge comeback and beat archrival Alabama. The following season, he had 130 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Georgia, inspiring then-Bulldogs coach Vince Dooley to describe Beasley as a “boy wonder.”
After his 1,051 receiving yards in 1970 led the SEC, Beasley racked up another 846 yards (with 12 touchdowns) and repeated All-American honors in 1971 as he helped Sullivan win the Heisman Trophy. Beasley’s No. 88 and Sullivan’s No. 7 are two of the three jerseys retired by Auburn, along with Bo Jackson’s No. 34.
“Pat Sullivan was the leader, the quarterback, and the Heisman Trophy winner, but the man who succeeded in the entire passing game was Beasley,” former Auburn athletic director David Housel said Thursday in a statement. “He’s an Auburn legend. He’s the standard by which all other Auburn receivers will be measured.”
Sullivan died of cancer in 2019, and his wife subsequently donated his brain to a study that revealed he had stage 3 CTE.
They watched their husbands win the Heisman Trophy, then lose them to CTE
Speaking to CNN in 2016, Marilyn Beasley said her husband used to tell her that if he could go back in time, he would do it again. But she added that he changed his tune and started saying that he would give up his football career if given the opportunity.
Terry Beasley said in 2013 that he was already feeling the effects of his concussions midway through his career at Auburn, and wanted to become a wide receivers coach on the football team while competing in track. That plan was rejected by then-Tigers coach Shug Jordan, who insisted that the powerful and talented pass rusher continue playing football, Beasley said.
“I want people to know that football is not just a game — these guys put their lives on the line every time they step on the field,” Marilyn Beasley said in 2016. The symptoms will follow them for the rest of their lives. “