Former Players to Blame for Keller's Injury?

Published on 20-Aug-2013 by Richard Huryn

Football - NFL    NFL Daily Opinion

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Former Players to Blame for Keller's Injury?

In a word, gruesome.

The sort of image that as you’re seeing it, you’re forced to turn your head because somewhere deep inside your body, there's an impulse that will simply not let you watch such damage occur to another human body.

If you have not seen the video of Miami Dolphins tight end Dustin Keller’s knee injury, do yourself a favor and don't search for it. This is an injury that is similar in nature to Willis Mcgahee’s knee during the Fiesta Bowl in 2002.  A smaller player launches himself toward the legs of an oncoming bigger player to avoid a collision that the smaller player would surely get the worst of.

In this most recent case, Houston Texans rookie safety DJ Swearinger delivered a hit on Keller that has ended his season, and possibly his career.  The 28-year-old former New York Jet was entering his sixth year in the league but was working on a one-year contract with the Dolphins, and now his playing future could be in doubt.

DJ Swearinger said after the game that he went low on Keller to avoid a high hit that could lead to a concussion and possible fine. While perhaps that's sound reasoning on the surface, it holds little water in reality. Smaller players have been “going low” on larger players as long as anyone can remember. It's an unfortunate part of the game that really cannot be avoided.

However, for a moment, let’s assume that Swearinger really believes his statement.

It is said that most NFL players will tell you, off the record, that they’d rather have a concussion than a leg injury. Their legs are their livelihoods. Concussions, while severe and seemingly cumulative, heal in a few weeks for the most part. Rarely is a player lost for a season to a concussion. Heck, players get their “bell rung” all the time and play through it … or at least they used to in the very recent past.

The lawsuit filed by more than 2000 former players against the NFL has forced the league to take concussions seriously and show that they are making changes to address the issue. These former players are forcing their current ‘fraternity brothers’ to ‘toe the party line’ regarding concussions. Meanwhile, the current players are potentially being subjected to a version of the game where they are trading mild to severe head injuries for devastating leg injuries.

So, while in this instance, Swearinger’s comments seem way off base, an argument can be made that some of blame for Keller’s injury -- and others like him -- lies at the feet of the lawsuit wielding ghosts of Gridirons Past.