Chris Conte Says NFL Career Worth Long-Term Health Risks

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2014

Nov 27, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago Bears free safety Chris Conte (47) against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bears safety Chris Conte is well aware that injuries suffered while playing in the NFL could adversely impact or even shorten his life. Despite that frightening possibility, he has no qualms about continuing to live out his dream.

In an interview with WBBM Newsradio in Chicago (h/t ESPN.com) on Monday, the 25-year-old defensive back revealed that premature death is a trade-off he can accept if it means being able to play the sport he loves at the highest level.

As far as after football, who knows? My life will revolve around football to some point, but I'd rather have the experience of playing and, who knows, die 10, 15 years earlier than not be able to play in the NFL and live a long life. It's something I've wanted to do with my life and I wanted to accomplish. And I pretty much set my whole life up to accomplish that goal. So I don't really look toward my life after football because I'll figure things out when I get there and see how I am.

The former University of California, Berkeley star has dealt with some injury issues this season, including a pair of concussions.

With concussion awareness at an all-time high in football and sports in general, Conte knows what it could mean for him down the line in terms of a worst-case scenario.

Conte isn't the only player who feels that way, though; former Bears tight end Desmond Clark tweeted out similar thoughts to those shared by his teammate:

Desmond Clark @dclarkonelife88

I agree with Chris Conte. So I live to 75 instead of 85 and in return I had the chance to play in the NFL. I'll do it all over again

Conte has put everything into becoming an NFL player, and the former third-round pick feels it's worth paying the ultimate price.

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