MADISON (WKOW) -- Former University of Wisconsin-Madison football players are starting to weigh on Montee Ball's attack.
Tarek Saleh and Derek Engler, who both went on to play for NFL teams, spoke at length during their "In the Trenches" radio broadcast for ESPN Wisconsin on Thursday.
"How bad is it? How bad is he hurt?" Saleh said when asked about his initial reaction to Ball being jumped.
Engler described similar thoughts,"It could've been a lot worse and thankfully it wasn't," he added.
The situation, unlike anything Madison has seen before, has become the talk of the town and nation.
"Being a legitimate top three Heisman contender, that puts his status through the roof and he's got a huge target on his back," Engler said.
There are eye-witness reports that Ball was sought out by his attackers.
"They may know you're a football player, perhaps they want to engage you, but to specifically target one individual, that's a pretty unique situation from my experience," Saleh said.
The two former Badgers also said downtown Madison has changed since they were in school.
Kelly Meuer, who owns State Street Brats, said what happened to Ball wasn't fair.
"When you have somebody who's just going home and minding his own business and he gets jumped by five guys, you've got to do something," Meuer told 27 News.
Ball was at State Street Brats before he was jumped early Wednesay morning on University Avenue.
"He absolutely was here, we have security cameras, we have him on the cameras here and he was fine. He wasn't intoxicated, he was having a drink and socializing with his friends," he said.
Meuer said after looking through the surveillance video, he didn't see anything out of the ordinary. That video has since been turned over to police.