Here are our Thanksgiving Day offerings from NFL Evolution:
* After having his suspension rescinded, Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed told the Baltimore Sun that the only way to stop concussions is to stop the game.
“It’s a shame it even came to this point, being that I’ve been on the other side of hits that have been illegal towards me. I’ve got a lot of respect for that organization, the Steelers, and the other teams in the league. I never played the game that way. I know just as well as I can do the hitting somebody else can, too. I have football camps I’m not teaching that to my kids. It’s something we have to deal with as players. It’s a shame we have to do that.”
* And in light of Reed’s reversal and comments, CBSSports.com columnist Mike Freeman said that some players just don’t get the need for higher safety standards in the NFL. In fact, he suggested some should talk with their counterparts from years past.
In writing a book about the 1972 Miami Dolphins, I spoke to one player from the team who couldn’t finish his sentences. His wife had to do it for him. His memory was all but gone. Maybe it wasn’t football that caused this extremely sad scene, but this player took some horrible head shots as a player. Despite all of this evidence, and the need for the NFL to drastically change its culture, there remains an unbelievable amount of resistance from the dinosaurs in the ex-jockocracy and even current players who think the NFL is making the game soft by protecting the brains of its membership. ”The NFL,” said one player, “is trying to save us from ourselves, but what if we don’t want saving? We all know this is a violent game. We take the risks.”
* The Bleacher Report noted that one way to cut back on concussions is to make all players wear a properly fitted helmet.
* Meanwhile, NBCChicago.com reported Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler passes his first concussion tests 10 days after the injury. And the Newark Star-Ledger reported that Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy of the Philadelphia Eagles have not passed their concussion tests.
* Alternative weekly Urban Tulsa wrote about the health dangers fans watch each week during NFL games.
* KSAZ-TV in Phoenix reported on a Kingman, Ariz., high school football player who doesn’t remember the concussion that ended his college hopes.
* WCSH-TV in Portland, Maine, reported on the prevention that is focused on girls who suffer concussions in area athletics.
* ESPN’s Andrew Brandt, a former NFL executive, wrote that the concussion issue is not going away any time soon for the league. He said the issue is going to get complicated and expects the NFLPA to become a defendant, too.
The “concussion conundrum,” as I have called it, may be the single most important issue ahead for the NFL. There will be many twists and turns ahead like the Webster case, but this is going to be a long-and-winding road before any level of guilt or innocence is established.
– Bill Bradley, contributing editor