An NFL running back is one of the toughest jobs in all of sports. The position has a short career lifespan, meaning that players don't typically play too long.
There's an incredible amount of wear and tear involved, which makes putting an emphasis on health and taking care of one's body one of the most important aspects of a running back's game.
For some running backs, putting the ball in their hands means that any thought about making smart, physical decisions goes out the window.
They have one goal: Run fast and run hard. That can lead to big yards and big touchdowns, but it can also lead to big injuries and short careers.
Forte has begun to walk down this dangerous path.
Recent Ankle Injury
At 26 years old, Forte has built a reputation as a bruising back that will make defenders miss and create yards for himself.
He's a 6'2", 218-pound player that isn't afraid to run north and south. A rare quality in players these days.
That same rare quality could be the one that dooms him.
Running straight up the field means that he'll be running straight into defenders, and his unique mix of size and speed creates opportunities for Forte to take big hits.
Watching him limp off the field and slap his hands together in frustration was pretty frustrating for fans. Why rush onto the field so soon? (Excuse the pun.)
Ankle injuries are a recipe for a running back's career to be cut short, so Forte needs to approach the next few weeks with caution.
How He Should Approach the Rest of His Career
I'm not trying to say that Forte should stop running hard so that the hits he takes aren't as bad. That's ridiculous, and anybody who has played or been close to football knows that playing not to get hurt will only get you hurt.
I'm saying that he needs to pick his spots better.
If he knows that he's about to take a big shot, then he needs to duck it and avoid the biggest hit. If he's about to get smacked on the sideline, then he needs to take two steps out of bounds to avoid the hit.
You'd hate to see the fight for two extra yards turn into two less years of playing in the NFL.
That seems drastic, but it really isn't in a league where one hit can end a career.
It's difficult to fault a player for running too hard because it means that he's giving his best, but Forte needs be smarter about what he does when he has the football in his hands.
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