During his 10-year NFL career, former wide receiver Qadry Ismail never suffered an injury quite like the one he did Sunday playing flag football.
Ismail retired after the 2002 season because of a C3/C4 neck fusion. Now at 47 years old, he returned to the M&T Bank Stadium field only to suffer a torn Achilles.
“I guess, as they say, Father Time is undefeated,” Ismail said.
Ismail played in Baltimore from 1999-2001 and was a key member of the Super Bowl XXXV team. Nicknamed the “Missile,” his speed was unmatched on the field and led to two 1,000-yard seasons in purple and black.
Beloved for his fun personality both as a player and radio personality, Ismail is now focusing on his business as a performance coach, teaching athletes how to get faster and more explosive as part of his “Missile Training” program.
He came back for Sunday’s game against the Steelers to participate in an alumni flag football game at halftime, in which former Ravens were paired up with members of the military.
The other alumni players were quarterback Stoney Case, wide receiver Mark Clayton, wide receiver Yamon Figurs, fullback Vonta Leach, fullback Le’Ron McClain, running back Willis McGahee and wide receiver Clarence Moore.
Ismail was playing quarterback, and he’d just thrown a deep completion to Figurs. He was jogging down the field celebrating a bit, then turned to get to the line of scrimmage and …
“I swear somebody just kicked me in the back of the foot,” Ismail said. “I turned like, ‘What the heck?!’”
It was oddest feeling, but after hearing Terrell Suggs, Steve Smith Sr. and Benjamin Watson describe their Achilles tears the same way, Ismail had an idea that it could be bad. He saw a Ravens trainer, and they immediately diagnosed it as a ruptured Achilles.
Here’s the crazy part. Ismail continued to press on. He finished the flag football game, then put on a walking boot and was still on WJZ’s post-game show.
“I truly felt good,” Ismail said. “I wasn’t trying to get the ‘Hero Award’ or anything. I mean, I’m surrounded by these awesome servicemen, and all I have to do is put myself in a walking boot.”
Ismail will have surgery on Wednesday. Best of luck, Q!