To make matters worse, Blades pulled his left hamstring against the Bucs a week later. "I thought, 'Oh, no. Not again. I'm not going to tell the trainers about this, or they'll make me come out,' " says Blades, who admits to taking as many as 10 Advils before games to help ease the pain. "When I pulled it again in the fourth quarter, I finally admitted I was hurt."
Blades learned about being tough from his father, Freddie, a professional boxer who fought in the early 1960s. There was a time when Bennie and his older brother, Brian, now a wide receiver with the Seahawks, dreamed of pursuing boxing careers, but their mother, Rosa, said she couldn't bear to watch them take a beating. "Now she sees it again," says Bennie, laughing. "There's more pounding in football than in boxing. After games, I feel like I've been in an auto accident."
So why does he play in so much pain? "I'm paid to give 100 percent," he says, "and I can't do that from the sideline."