The issue of concussions in the NFL is touchy. The former players suing the league, saying it misled them about the dangers of concussions, is an even trickier debate.
Some will argue players obviously understand the risks of playing NFL football and are compensated well for playing. Many fans have voiced that. To say they had no idea about concussions and to sue afterwards seems disingenuous to many.
It's one thing for fans to have that thought. It's another for a future Hall of Fame player to say it.
At media day Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed was asked about Junior Seau, whose suicide and subsequent diagnosis of diachronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) brought on a wrongful death lawsuit by the family.
His answer was certainly not in lockstep with the former players who are suing the league.
"Did he sign up for it?'' Reed said, according to the Buffalo News, among many sources that quoted his answer to a question about Seau. "Yeah, he signed up to play football. Things are going to happen.
"Do I want it to happen? No. When I was on a golf course, did I want to hear about Junior Seau? No, I didn't want to hear that. I grew up watching him play. That was a sad day, a sad day. And there have been many other guys that have been down that road that you didn't want to hear about because of football.
“Junior gave everything he had to football,” Reed continued, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “I’m sure he’s looking down and has no regrets."
Interesting comments, particularly the last one. By many accounts, most notably a thoroughly reported story by the San Diego Union-Tribune, Seau had many problems after retirement and eventually decided to kill himself rather than go on. Maybe what he got out of football was worth the pain it caused after. It's certainly tough to believe that was the case, considering the tragic final few years of his life and the way it ended.
I've had many ex-NFL players tell me about the pain they suffer with today, but that they wouldn't change a thing. That's how much they loved playing in the NFL. I've had others say practically the opposite. It's not an easy issue with a unanimous conclusion.
When Reed talks about the physical toll of football, he does speak from experience. He was open about the effects he has had from playing in the NFL.
"I feel effects from it," Reed said, according to the Buffalo News. "Some days, I wake up and I'm like, ‘Where did my memory go?’ But at the same time, I signed up for it.
"Football has been like that for a long time, for ages. Football has always been a contact sport, and it's always going to be a violent sport, and there are going to be repercussions from that. But every player that ever played this game and will play this game, they're signing up for it."
The debate will go on for a long time, and now it has another interesting and controversial opinion from one of the most respected players in the game today.
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