Next up, hernia. For former Green Bay Packers quarterback Don Majkowski, that will make surgery No. 24. Majkowski’s NFL career spanned 10 years but was marred by injuries. Those injuries are catching up with him more than 30 years after he made his NFL debut in 1987.
Don Majkowski dominated in 1989
Don Majkowski played his college football at Virginia and was a 10th-round pick of the Green Bay Packers in the 1987 NFL draft. During the 1987 and 1988 seasons, Majkowski split time with Randy Wright. In 1989, however, the Majik Man was born.
Majkowski assumed the starting role and started all 16 games for the Packers. He guided the Packers to a 10-6 record and put up some serious numbers. Majkowski led the NFL in passing yards with 4,318 and also was tops in attempts (599) and completions (353).
Majkowski was named to the Pro Bowl after the 1989 season. He finished second to Joe Montana in the MVP voting. Majkowski was rewarded with a one-year contract worth $1.5 million. In 1987, he made $65,000.
Majkowski injury opened the door for Brett Favre
In 1990, Don Majkowski had cemented himself as the Green Bay Packers starting quarterback with his Pro-Bowl season in 1989. He just signed a million-dollar deal and was ready to put the team on his back. During Week 10, Majkowski was tackled by Freddie Joe Nunn of the Phoenix Cardinals and landed awkwardly on his shoulder.
Majkowski suffered a torn rotator cuff and was lost for the rest of the season and started just eight games in 1991. He returned as the starter in 1992. On Sept. 20, 1992, Majkowski went down with a severe ankle injury in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Majkowski was replaced by backup Brett Favre, who rallied the Packers to a victory over the Bengals. Favre started every game after that for the next 15 years. Majkowski left Green Bay to play two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, mostly a backup. He finished his career with two years as a member of the Detroit Lions. Majkowski is a member of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.
Majkowski had his 23rd surgery in October
Don Majkowski is 56 years old. His wife Kelly wrote on Twitter in October that she had just dropped her husband off for his 23rd surgery. Don Majkowski rattled off some of his surgeries in a November interview with The Athletic. “My ankle was fused with 13 screws and two titanium plates, my lower back is fused, both fusions are because of degenerative disk disease, degenerative arthritis,” he said. “My neck pain that I’ve been dealing with for three years has just gotten unbearable, can’t turn my neck to the left.
“But it’s the back issues I can’t sit for prolonged periods of time, I can’t stand for prolonged periods of time because my back and ankle, so I mean, torn rotator to everything. It’s just the accumulation of everything over the years has been extremely difficult.”
Majkowski isn’t alone. There are many other former players struggling with health issues related to their playing days. In March, a new collective bargaining agreement cut payments by 25% to more than 400 retirees, according to The Athletic. Many, Majkowski included, are not happy. “What they’re taking away from us to give to the current players as a bargaining chip, or whatever you want to call it is, it’s embarrassing,” Majkowski said. “It’s just, it’s ethically, it’s just wrong. It’s wrong. And I would say, please do the right thing and just take care of the old guys.”