Since the moment Junior Seau’s death was first reported on Wednesday, the conclusion many would jump to was inevitable. It’s instinctive, and perhaps even habitual now to assume that the physical battering of football and the resulting head injuries–documented or not–played a role in the death of another player at a young age.

In the two days since there have been questions asked, with very few answers. What will this mean for the grassroots levels of football? Will parents want to push their kids to play, when much safer youth sports are available? Those questions will be answered in time, but what’s especially troubling is that despite our understandable inability to resist connecting Seau and head trauma, we still know very little about the reason for his suicide.

That could change soon.

Seau’s family has made the decision to allow his brain to be studied. It’s a decision that they made almost immediately, but they wisely wanted to allow some time to pass before making an official announcement that wasn’t clouded with emotion.

From Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times:

“The family was considering this almost from the beginning, but they didn’t want to make any emotional decisions,” chaplain Shawn Mitchell told The Times on Thursday night. “And when they came to a joint decision that absolutely this was the best thing, it was a natural occurrence for the Seau family to go forward.”

When Dave Duerson committed suicide under similar circumstances, he left a note requesting that his brain be given to the Boston University School of Medicine. A study later revealed that Duerson was suffering from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a degenerative condition tied to brain trauma.

If the study on Seau’s brain comes to the same conclusion, then it’s not outlandish to suggest that the NFL should be seriously concerned about its future. Kids are driven to excel in sports because of their dreams to be a hero, and make that game-winning catch, or the tackle on a goal-line stand.

Seau’s reward for a career spent being a hero was depression, and an abrupt end.

And now you want to know the rest of the story…

  • Hey, remember a year ago when the lockout was just starting, and it eventually led to what we assumed was 10 years of labor peace? Yeah, that didn’t last long. The NFLPA has filed a grievance against the NFL challenging Roger Goodell’s authority to make rulings regarding bounties. More specifically, the grievance states that the punishments he handed to the Saints players violated various procedural requirements in the collective bargaining agreement. We’ll have more on this tangled mess of legalese a little later on this morning once I attach my caffeine IV to get through the nauseating legal posturing. [Jason La Canfora]
  • Tony Sparano wants to minimize turnovers. [The Jets Blog]
  • Ryan Grant will workout for the Lions on Monday, and he could add some veteran depth to a backfield that’s very much in need of any depth at all. [Pride of Detroit]
  • Either unfortunately or perhaps appropriately, the death of Seau and the announcement of the final bountygate penalties happened on the same day, and the two events will be forever linked. [Phin Phanatic]
  • There’s a lot of conspiracy theorists in New Orleans, and none of them are making any sense. [Jeff Duncan]
  • The Bills have an incredibly deep defensive backfield after the draft, and someone had to go. Sorry, Drayton Florence. [Adam Schefter on Twitter]
  • How does Ryan Fitzpatrick stack up against the other QBs Chan Gailey has coached? [Buffalo Rumblings]
  • Phil Savage, the former NFL scout and general manager and current radio commentator for Alabama football, thinks Dre Kirkpatrick will be a “very good player in time.” [Cincinnati Inquirer]
  • It shouldn’t matter how Terrell Suggs hurt his Achilles. [Mike Preston]