JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Percy Harvin and Wes Welker say they don't worry about concussions. It's hard to believe that.
Maybe it's true, and it's their defense mechanism to play slot receiver in the NFL. Welker almost exclusively lines up close to the formation, and while Harvin can line up just about anywhere, both make their living in the middle of the field. It's hard to do that effectively when you're concerned about your long-term health. So perhaps they really can block out those thoughts.
Welker missed three games for Denver after suffering his second concussion of the season. Harvin took a hard hit in the first quarter of the Seahawks' playoff game against New Orleans, was evaluated for a concussion in the locker room, was cleared but then suffered a concussion that knocked out of the game. Harvin said that was his first concussion. By now we all know what issues concussions can cause for players later in life. Welker and Harvin aren't dumb; they know that too.
But still, neither one said he worries about it.
"I don’t," Harvin said. "I was one of those players that downplayed concussions the whole time, until I actually got one. Then I was like, ‘OK, this thing is real.’ But I won’t worry about concussions.
"I don’t think you can worry about it when you’re playing, it will affect how you play the game. I’m a player that is explosive. When the hole opens I like to hit it. If you’re worrying about getting hit and contact, I think it will slow you up."
Welker created a little bit of a stir on Tuesday when he said at media day that he would play in the Super Bowl with a concussion.
"What do you think? I mean, you want to be out there," Welker said. "The Super Bowl, this is what you dream about. You're going to be there, I don't care what it takes, you’re going to be out there in this game."
That mentality is never going to change, no matter how much the league tries to protect the players. Harvin said he tried to snatch his helmet back after it was taken away from him when he was diagnosed with his concussion. He just wanted to play.
"It definitely gets aggravating," Harvin said of the league's concussion protocol. "The league is definitely looking to take care of players, they go through a lot of steps and see a lot of doctors and neurologists just to make sure everything is fine. From that aspect, for my health, I can appreciate it. At the time in the game I didn’t like it at all."
Welker was asked if he had a son, if he would have a problem with him playing football.
"Not really, I don’t think so," Welker said. "I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve had fun playing this game, and still have fun playing this game."
Welker came back after his second concussion this season with a larger helmet that supposedly will help protect him from another concussion. He said teammates give him a hard time once in a while about it, saying he looks like he's a character from the movie "Spaceballs." He also has started wearing a mouthpiece, which help prevent concussions. Maybe those things can keep Welker concussion-free for the rest of his career, because he said he hasn't thought about giving up the game because of the risk.
"I enjoy the game so much and enjoy being out there with my teammates and having fun and doing all those things," Welker said. "So I really don’t think about that."
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