GRAND CANE, La. -- Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw will miss the 1984 season because of surgery on his throwing arm, but the four-time Super Bowl star said today he will not retire.
'I'm not retiring,' Bradshaw said today from his northwest Louisiana ranch. 'I'm just going to get operated on with the idea of getting well.'
Bradshaw, who headed for El Paso, Texas, today for a cancer benefit, said he will undergo surgery in July on his painful right elbow, which was operated on in March 1983 and kept him out of all but one game last year.
A Steelers spokesman in Pittsburgh said, however, that more surgery means virtual retirement for the four-time Super Bowl star.
'We have to assume, based on the information that he has given us, that if he has this operation that he will miss the 1984 season, and in all probability the 1985 season,' said team spokesman Joe Gordon.
Bradshaw said he will undergo surgery in July on his painful right elbow, which was operated on in March 1983 and kept him out of all but one game last year.
A five-month recovery period from the second surgery also would wipe out his 1984 NFL season.
'We have to assume until we know differently that he is retiring,' Gordon said. 'It's a matter of terminology or semantics, whether he is retired or inactive, or whatever you want to call it.'
Bradshaw left a Steelers mini-training camp early last week because of pain in his elbow. He said he wanted to continue to play football, but would take a wait-and-see attitude until he recovers from the surgery.
'The frustration and depression from what happened last week in Pittsburgh is kind of easing off, and I'm able to get a clear head about this thing,' he said. 'As much as I love to play football, and I'm young and healthy, I might as well just go ahead and try to get it completely well. If I can't, then I've done everything.
'But at the same time, I'll just continue on and find something else to do to keep me occupied until I can find out if I really can play again.'
Bradshaw worked hard with weights during the off-season in an attempt to rebuild the arm.
'Physically I feel super, but this dang arm of mine I guess needs a little overhaul,' he said.
The operation on a ligament in the right elbow would be done in Los Angeles by sports surgeon Dr. Frank Jobe, the quarterback said.
The Louisiana Tech graduate, who spent much of the last weekend consulting with Shreveport surgeon Dr. Billy Bundrick and deciding on his future, concluded the surgery was necessary.
'What has to be done has to be done,' he said.