The health of NFL players in retirement has been a major talking point over the past week. That will fade eventually when summer turns into fall, and we begin the business of transitioning from the 2012 offseason to the 2012 season. But a tragic event like the passing of Junior Seau will cause pause and reflection, and it certainly has in this space.
For Jacob Bell, Seau’s death did more than that. It was the “cherry on top” that pushed him into retirement.
The 31-year-old Bengals guard was still relatively young for an offensive lineman, and was signed to a one-year contract under a minimal salary ($890,000). His medical file will tell you that he’s suffered three-to-four concussions throughout an eight-year career in which he started 100 games.
Bell doesn’t know what life after football holds for him yet, but Seau’s death pushed him to get out.
From the National Football Post:
“It’s just crazy to see how someone like Junior Seau took his own life over — God knows what he was really struggling and dealing with. But you have to believe it came from the game of football. I want to get out before the game makes me get out, where I can get out on my own terms, and I can limit the amount of stress and negative impact that the game would leave on me.”
Bell also said that his medical file may be lying, because despite the new regulations and positive steps forward, a concussion still isn’t clearly defined by the NFL.
“To say I’ve had three concussions is a little ridiculous, that’s what my file will tell you. But if you tell me I’ve seen stars, probably 50-100. How many guys truly know how many concussions they have had? That’s a crazy situation to think about. I don’t know how much damage they’ve really done.”
Bell had a fine career, but he was a guard, and an average one. It’ll take similar statements and an early retirement from a more prominent figure for a true shock to resonate.
Still, with the questions about the grassroots of the game at their height, it’s troubling to see a player link his retirement to Seau, even though Seau’s suicide hasn’t officially been connected to brain trauma.
If the measurements on our spectrum of worry is Helen Lovejoy on one end, and ultra conservative blood-thirsty guy on the other, this is a point for Lovejoy.
And now you want to know the rest of the story…
- There’s just one step left to ensure the Vikings remain the Vikings and stay in Minnesota after the House passed the stadium bill last night. Now only a senate vote stands in the way of final approval. [NFL.com]
- More good news for the Vikings: Adrian Peterson will be surprised and disappointed if he’s not ready for Week 1 in September. [Vikings.com]
- Aaron Rodgers on one of the qualities he looks for in an ideal center: “How much do they sweat? The worst thing that you can have is third, fourth quarter on a October day where it’s 65, 70 degrees and he’s sweating through his pants. Because that is not a situation you wanna be in.” [This Given Sunday]
- Cris Carter is still talking about bounties when he has no reason to talk about bounties, saying that he paid for protection, not injuries. [USA Today]
- Jerry Jones doesn’t have any plans to trade Mike Jenkins. [Cowboys.com]
- A punter has joined one of the many concussion lawsuits against the NFL. Yes, a punter. [Detroit News]
- Tom Heckert said that Cleveland’s running backs will be pretty good this year, and he wasn’t just talking about Trent Richardson. [Waiting for Next Year]
- Need more labor disputes in your NFL? Good, because there’s a chance the 2012 season (or at least part of it) will be played with replacement officials. [Fox Sports]