10:52 a.m.: Salaam is alone. Less than 24 hours have passed since he heard a sound he'll never forget, the sound of the outside bone on his lower right leg snapping under pressure from a pile of tacklers. "I'm sure people think this is a tough sport," he says, "but they don't know how tough. It's brutal. It's physical and spiritual war. When you get hurt, it's unbearable, man. Not just the physical part. We've learned to take the pain. It's mental. To work every day for months, and in a second it's gone. Now I'm lying here on some bench, knowing my season's over. It's a sick feeling." He pauses and takes a deep breath. "People think we're out here for the money. Money's good, but you'll never last more than a year or two if money's all you care about. You better love it, or these Monday mornings wouldn't be worth it."
Another pause. Awkward silence. "I just have to keep the faith," Salaam says. "I have to be positive somehow."
"What," Salaam is asked, "is there to be positive about?"
"That it's not a knee," he replies.