Tears Ligament In Left Knee
In a preseason exhibition game in 1970, Sayers suffered a torn ligament in his left knee. Although he underwent surgery to repair the damage, his knee was never again the same. Despite the injury and subsequent surgery, Sayers managed to play two games during the regular season, but he was unable to maneuver with the same agility and speed for which he would become famous. He finished the season with only 52 yards on 23 carries, averaging 2.3 yards per carry. He underwent two more surgeries over the next several months and even had his leg put in a cast, but it was all to no avail. In the two games he played during the 1971 season, Sayers rushed for only 38 yards on 13 carries, gaining an average of 2.9 yards per carry.
The writing was on the wall and could no longer be ignored. At the beginning of 1972 season, Sayers announced his retirement from professional football. He did not stray far from the game, however. He worked for a while as a football analyst for CBS Sports. Then in 1973 he went back to his old alma mater, the University of Kansas, to work as assistant athletic director. He also became director of the Williams Educational Fund, the principal fund-raising organization for University of Kansas athletic programs. Sayers (who had earlier been divorced from his first wife, Linda) married Ardythe Elaine Bullard on December 1, 1973. In 1976 he left Kansas to take over as athletic director at Southern Illinois University.