I’m amazed at how much I’m still often amazed by football players, and how far they’re removed from being normal humans.
Example: last night for the first time in far longer than I’d like to admit because shame, I went to the gym in our grand, palatial office tower here at the dot com. As I began the lab rat routine of plugginging away on the treadmill, I recalled Chad Johnson running at 25 mph last week on a 2.5 percent incline. I put my machine up to 5.5 mph, and then started sucking back all the oxygen in the room (#bloglife).
Throughout the NFL season when routine injuries arise, I often do a cursory search for the nature of said injury, and I immediately regret that decision. Seriously, look at the Wikipedia page for “spasm“. It’s horrifying.
Football players aren’t just physically different than you and I. No, they’re mentally different too. Or, as Michael Bush has now revealed, maybe they’re just a little mental.
This isn’t quite in Patrice Bergeron territory, but Bush is still a crazy man. He played almost all of last season with a fractured bone in his shoulder. Reminder: Michael Bush is a running back, and in that position your shoulder gets hit pretty often. Actually, very often.
He revealed the injury to the Chicago Tribune, and when he was asked how he played through an injury which clearly limited his performance, Bush pretty much shrugged and said “football“.
“How did I play through it? The same way I was going to play through the rib injury until I realized (the rib injury) was worse than what it was. That’s just me. Once I broke my leg (in college) … if it ain’t my leg and it ain’t my feet and I can still walk around and run, I’m going to play.”
The rib injury he speaks of was the blow that finally ended Bush’s season three games early. But prior to that his fractured shoulder occurred in Week 2 against the Packers, meaning he was able to limp along for 11 games while still accumulating 398 all-purpose yards in a limited role behind Matt Forte.
The line between tough and stupid is pretty blurry in a league where contracts aren’t guaranteed, and the numbers attached to each new contract are based on production.
As football fans, we’re in an odd place with a story like this. Right now, we’ll applaud and marvel at Bush’s toughness (as I have here), while saying that those who play the game are foreign beings (as I have here). But Bush is 29 years old, which is young for normal mortals, and getting rather old and near the death age for a running back. If he’s a wreak physically at 35 (again, still young for a normal human) after he retires, he can look back on that time he played nearly an entire season with a fractured shoulder and know it certainly didn’t help matters.