Do the 49ers Recent Actions Impact the Browns?
In an unprecedented move, the San Francisco 49ers lost three starters on defense to retirement. While that sounds unlikely, remember the fact that only one was deemed to be old enough to be able to retire (by NFL standards). The fear of concussion issues and possible CTE effects definitely hit this locker room – how it manifests itself throughout the league remains to be seen.
Linebackers by the Bay
Patrick Willis and Chris Borland each called it a career over the past few weeks. One played for eight seasons and the other just one. It would appear that the former could not withstand multiple hits to the head, while the latter does not want to be exposed to any in the future. While some are scrutinizing these athletes – labeling them as quitters – I understand and support where they are coming from.
Being a recipient of two concussions (only one was diagnosed – the other I got back on the field a few minutes later), I know one or two more shots might affect my quality of life going forward. Fortunately, I’m slow and was not nearly talented enough to play past the high school level. That said, football is much different than baseball or basketball in terms of the types injuries one can sustain – could professional careers become even shorter for those in the NFL?
Thinking about the current roster, K’Waun Williams and Tashaun Gipson are the two who come to mind in terms of receiving concussions recently. The former had at least a pair in his rookie season, while the latter incurred at least one during his Pro Bowl run in 2014. Going forward, both (and the team as well) must be aware of potential issues down the road.
Recently departed Jordan Cameron is a tremendous athlete, but also one who has been oft injured. In a business decision, the team appears smart to not have to worry about one of their guys being a hit away from a possible shortened career – despite being a matchup nightmare for defenses.
Conclusion: While there does not appear to be many guys on the surface who have sustained head trauma for the Cleveland Browns, there is a possibility that there could be some on the roster who might be concerned about potential issues in the future. As far as the athletes are concerned, I have nothing but respect for them and cannot take anything away from their decision to walk away from the game.
As far as the franchise is concerned, due diligence becomes even more vital in scouting. It may sound crass, but the front office must consider guys who are literally willing to “leave it all on the field”. While this may lead to guys who might not be as talented, teams could secure guys who would be on the roster for a much longer period of time.
There in lies the moral dilemma for fans – the rationale of players versus what teams need to be successful. It is clearly the fiercest sport with the highest possibility for long-term injuries. However, football is still the most entertaining event on live television. Reactions to “big hits” might be an indicator of people’s thoughts on the love of the game as well as what could lead to the sport’s downfall.