Upon passing away last July due to complications from colon cancer, Ken Stabler donated his brain and spinal cord to Boston University's Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy center.
It turns out that on a scale of 1 to 4, Stabler had high Stage 3 CTE, according to researchers at Boston University.
“He had moderately severe disease,” Dr. Ann McKee, chief of neuropathology at the V.A. Boston Healthcare System and a professor of neurology and pathology at Boston University School of Medicine, told John Branch of the New York Times. “Pretty classic. It may be surprising since he was a quarterback, but certainly the lesions were widespread, and they were quite severe, affecting many regions of the brain."
The signal caller affectionately known as “The Snake” spent 15 seasons in the NFL but was best known for a decade with the Silver and Black, a span that included a victory in Super Bowl XI in 1977.
The four-time Pro Bowler and 1974 NFL MVP was 69-26-1 during his time with the Raiders, when he became known as a player who performed well in the clutch. He took the Raiders to the playoffs six times.
“On some days, when he wasn’t feeling extremely bad, things were kind of normal,” Kim Bush, Stabler's longtime partner, told Branch. “But on other days it was intense. I think Kenny’s head rattled for about 10 years.”
Stabler is a finalist for this year's Hall of Fame class, which will be announced on Saturday.
"I've often said, If I had one drive to win a game to this day, and I had a quarterback to pick, I would pick Kenny," John madden declared back in July. "Snake was a lot cooler than I was. He was a perfect quarterback and a perfect Raider."