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Helmets Are Not Weapons
Warren Moon
December 07, 1992
Entering the Nov. 15 game against the Minnesota Vikings, Houston Oiler quarterback Warren Moon had missed only 10 games because of injury in his nine-year NFL career. But while playing with a lingering headache caused by a concussion sustained two weeks earlier, Moon suffered five small fractures of his upper left arm when he was speared by Viking defensive back Vencie Glenn. Moon, who will be sidelined until mid-to late December, here puts a perspective on this typically tough NFL season.
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December 07, 1992

Helmets Are Not Weapons

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Standing in the pocket is kind of an ego thing with me. I'm going to wait for the open man and risk getting hit. There's a trigger inside my head that tells me at the last second, Get rid of it! That's what happened on the Woodson hit. Normally I'd be able to break my fall with my arms, but he pinned my arms at my side and drove me into the turf. Actually I don't remember anything that happened to me in the first 15 minutes after his helmet struck my chin.

I see all these big-name players going down with injuries—Albert Lewis, Anthony Munoz, Lawrence Taylor, Al Toon—and then I hear things like the owners want to cut rosters to 40 or 35 players because salaries will go up when a free-agency system is in place or because the next TV contract won't be as lucrative as the current one. For whatever reason, cutting the rosters would hurt the quality of the game. You would have a smaller number of players forced to play more plays and forced to play on more special teams, where the risk of injury can be greater than on plays from scrimmage.

I'm concerned about these things—very concerned. Right now, though, what I most care about is getting back and helping us win. You've got to understand the emotions involved in an NFL season. After we lost at home to Cleveland about a month ago and headed on the road for three straight games, everybody was writing our obituary. So we went to Minnesota in a must-win situation, and we won a cliff-hanger. Huge win. Emotional win.

Afterward guys were whooping and hollering and jumping up and down in the locker room. Our offensive coordinator, Kevin Gilbride, was so happy he couldn't stop slapping me on the back. I winced every time he slapped me. I hadn't been X-rayed, and I knew something was wrong, but I didn't want to dampen anyone's excitement. It was probably the most excited I'd ever seen our team.

A few minutes later I went for X-rays, figuring I had a bruise or some strained ligaments. When they told me the arm was fractured, I was in tears. I was crushed. So you can see what a euphoric day it was—and what a crushing day it was. Now each Monday we X-ray the arm near my shoulder to see how the bone is calcifying. I know pro football is a violent world, but it's my world. I can't wait to get back to it.

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