Preason Football: In Sickness and In Health...

Shashwat BaxiCorrespondent IAugust 29, 2008

America is buzzing about the beginning of the 2008 National Football League. There are countless story lines that are at play and plenty of drama that will play out over the seasons. Football fans wait in anticipation to see what happens with Jets QB Brett Favre, Packers QB Aaron Rogers, Dolphins QB Chad Pennington, Raiders WR Javon Walker, Cowboys CB Adam "Pacman" Jones, and many other players and teams in the NFL.

However, none of those are the major storyline of the preseason to this point. The biggest story of the 2008 NFL season, so far, is the numerous amount of injuries that have occurred during the preseason games. Some of the injuries didn't happen during games, but they have as much of an impact on their respective teams and 2008 seasons. Roger Goodell and the NFL officials need to look at the preseason and see if it's really worth injuring so many athletes.

The most unfortunate news came for the New York Giants as their worst fears came true. The defending Super Bowl champions suffered a devastating blow when they learned Umenyiora that their only Pro Bowl player will miss the entire 2008 season after suffering a left knee injury in Saturday night's preseason loss to the Jets.

Wide Receiver Braylon Edwards was involved in a freak injury during a Cleavland Browns practice. Running in socks, Edwards was racing against newly acquired wide receiver Donte Stallworth. After the race, Edwards slowed down and Stallworth stepped on the back of his foot with spiked cleats. The accident forced Edwards to the hospital. However, he should be ready to go in plenty of time before the regular season.

Redskins DE Jason Taylor sprained his knee in the second quarter of a preseason game. The Redskins estimate he'll be sidelined 10 to 14 days, which gives him a shot at returning for the Thursday night NFL opener Sept. 4 against the Giants. Taylor hasn't missed a game since 1999. His streak of 130 consecutive regular-season starts ranks seventh among active players. He has played with various injuries, including a broken arm.

The NFL Network and the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Bengals WR Chad Johnson has a torn labrum, suffered during the second week of preseason play. But instead of having surgery on it, Johnson will try to play, starting at Baltimore in their season opener. The official team web site reported that Johnson practiced in a harness on Monday and decided to play without surgery after talking to other players who have had the same injury.

More bad news for the Bengals came when they learned that QB Carson Palmer will skip Cincinnati's last preseason game, resting his broken nose. Palmer broke his nose and cut his lip on a sack Saturday night during a 13-0 loss to New Orleans. Palmer said he probably would have sat out the final preseason game even if he hadn't broken his nose. He expects to be ready for the opener at Baltimore on Sept. 7.

Outside of these players, who got hurt during this preseason, there are numerous stars that re-aggravated previously sustained injuries. New England QB Tom Brady has a foot injury, Colts QB Peyton Manning had surgery to remove an infected bursa sac, Chargers LB Shawne Merriman has 2 torn ligaments in his leg, Giants WR Plaxico Burress still has an ankle injury, Eagles WR Kevin Curtis continues to battle a hernia, and Seattle WRs Bobby Engram and Deion Branch are sidelined with a cracked shoulder and off-season knee surgery, respectively.

With so many star players going down or re-injuring themselves in the preseason, is it time for Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL to look at the preseason!? It doesn't make sense that these players go through training camp and then 4 completely meaningless games before a grueling 17-week season, the playoffs notwithstanding. Something must be done to protect the health of the players in the NFL and it must be done now!