What it's really like to retire and how NFL should handle concussions
Retired QB Trent Green fills in for a vacationing Peter King
When dealing with concussions, it's imperative players are honest
Notes on Vick, Favre, moving and more Things I Think I Think
With Peter King on his annual four-week summer vacation, recently retired quarterback Trent Green took time away from moving his family into their Kansas City home to write today's Monday Morning Quarterback column. Green, who played 15 seasons with the Rams, Dolphins, Chiefs, Redskins and Chargers, is in discussions with networks about doing some TV and radio broadcasting this fall.
The honor I feel as the first Monday Morning Quarterback guest columnist is only eclipsed by the pressure. It's one thing to play football in front of 80,000 fans on Sundays, but it's quite another to write about it knowing 1.5 million of you are used to a pro like Peter King. I feel a little like Jim Sorgi stepping in for Peyton Manning. (No offense, Jim.)
A few football topics:
I don't think Roger Goodell will reinstate Michael Vick for the 2009 season. First, look at Goodell's track record. He has never just allowed the criminal justice system to be the only penalty applied. And don't forget Vick lied to Goodell's face about his involvement with the dog-fighting. So it's going to take more than Vick's word to convince Goodell he has changed. The NFL is very concerned about its image and Goodell is a big reason why it has remained steady through some major off-field issues.
On the field, I think the league needs to come up with minimum guidelines that each team must follow when a player suffers a concussion. I've learned firsthand the biggest factor after a concussion is time. With both of my concussions, the Chiefs and Dolphins made sure I didn't return to the field too soon. This is where it gets tricky. The player has to be honest with himself and the medical staff. In most cases, that is the only way to tell. Where this becomes difficult for a player is the football mindset. Whenever you start playing football, it is instilled from Day 1 to work through the pain. Bruises, sprains, strains, cramps, a little crack here, or a little tear there. All of it you can work through, it just depends on how mentally tough you are. That's what players, coaches and team doctors all have to deal with. It is just not smart, though, when dealing with the brain. So until more research can be done about long-term brain damage associated with multiple head injuries, the NFL needs to step up and set some minimum guidelines for teams to follow.
If the league wants to expand the regular season by a game or two, there will need to be some significant changes in other areas. I understand trying to maximize profit. If you add more regular-season games it changes the television dollars, radio dollars, advertising and licensing dollars, parking, concessions and on and on. The way teams practice and the number of days they practice, both in season and off-season, will need to be examined. With football becoming year round now -- and don't tell me spring camps are "voluntary" -- there needs to be concern for increased injuries. I can hear people now say, "As much as players are paid ..." True, players are well compensated, but there becomes a point of diminishing returns. Players need to take care of themselves year round and teams/coaches need to look into training/practice variables that will maintain high production for a lengthened season.
You may have heard I recently decided to retire. The decision was difficult. I can completely understand what Brett Favre is going through. I still feel like I can play and if I was in Brett's shoes, I would play. The Vikings have the potential to be a very good team, on both sides of the ball. He also knows the offensive coordinator and could step in the huddle tomorrow and run the offense.
As far as my decision, there were a lot of factors. My family and I were committed to living in our house in Kansas City this fall and I didn't want to rent a condo for five months during the season and live away from them. Also, primarily serving as a backup last season was something I hadn't experienced in more than a decade and wasn't too eager to repeat. And in the end, it was just the right time. I had an incredible experience in my 15-year career. All of the players, coaches, and personnel people I worked with gave me a lifetime of memories. And the fans -- wow. The passion with which you support your teams is humbling and does not go unnoticed.
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