I read the headline and currently cannot read the entire story that I found on MSN today about Coach Belichick and the cost he exacts upon his team. The story of Ted Johnson, a middle LB for the Patriots of the very late 90s and early in this first decade, is an indication that things have not changed.
Johnson was a promising LB for the Patriots early on and proved to be a valuable starter; playing in Super Bowl XXXI. He played for the Patriots until he retired in 2005 after sustaining multiple concussions and being encouraged to play even if he was hurt. This is truly a tragic story to go along with probably hundreds of other stories of sports figures who live hurt the rest of their lives. Anyone seen Jerome Bettis walking around lately? He will need canes in his near future because of what he did in the NFL.
Anyone who complains about rookie contracts should check into the risk versus reward. This is why football players make millions of dollars a year. I wish that the NFL would do more for their product, which is what these players are. Give them the big contract but keep some of the money and pay it out annually as needed. This would prevent some stories of weathered monsters of the gridiron rusting in homeless shelters, living in poverty and pain, and suffering a retirement that one could liken to a pre-death.
Ok, back on topic. Apparently Coach Belichick doesn't mind playing his people hurt. Come on Coach! Use those brains for something other than football for a minute. Take your injured, your weary, and your hardened warriors out for a game and let them recouperate! I coach for a club team in Europe and if I see a guy limping or looking funny I pull him aside and make certain he is ok. There is no need for people, even those making their living playing football, to damage themselves more than they already do. Have a heart before more of your players relive the nightmare Ted Johnson, who John Madden described during Super Bowl XXXI as one of the most promising young LBs in the league. Today he is one of the stories about football that makes those who know about it hate the sport.