Chicago Sun-Times

Jay Cutler on concussion concerns: "No one made me play football"

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Bears quarterback Jay Cutler acknowledged how polarizing concussions are right now.

"It's a tough subject, it's a touchy subject, I think you have to be careful what you say and don't say. Some guys are totally on one side of the and other guys are on the other side of the fence," he said. "You know, I signed up to play football. I understand that. I understand you're going to take hits, you're going to get beat up."

But Cutler said the NFL and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell have been "trying to take every measure possible to protect players." He noted, for instance, that helmets have improved since he entered the league in 2006.

"At the end of the day, it's a tough sport. You're going to take shots in the head, and you're going to get concussions from time to time," Cutler said. "But no one made me play football. Not one put a gun to my head and said, 'You have to play football.' It's what I love to do. And I knew the risks and benefits going into it."

Cutler also backed Goodell for his handling of the New Orleans Saints. After an investigation, Goodell handed down heavy fines and suspensions to Saints players and coaches involved in a bounty program.

"As players, we all know that there's the possibility for injuries," Cutler said. "But I think they crossed that line, of going past that point and encouraging it to happen. And whenever you're telling people to take headshots and take people out, things are going to come down on you."

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Jay Cutler may have known all the risks, even though all the risks still aren't known by neurologists, but the suits are about players who were lied to about the risks by the NFL. They didn't have a gun put to their heads either, but they were deceived about the consequences of playing and concussions. When data came out stating the risks, the NFL blatantly lied and stated that their data had found conflicting results.

In a sense I agree Mama, but I would also be willing to bet the people telling the players they were fine to go back and play were largely ignorant of the link between concussions and the effects we are seeing now with the Duersons and Seaus of the NFL. Does that make it right? Of course not--but medical imaging has progressed so much further that today we can see things we couldn't imagine seeing just 5 years ago.

The problem is hindsight is 20-20, and you can't hold people accountable when they did not have the data they have now. However if 10 years from now the NFL has done nothing about it and guys are still ending up with their eggs scrambled when they were told they were fine, then it is equal parts player-management when it comes to responsibility.

And let's not forget the players in all this are not always entirely innocent; many likely insisted they were fine when they knew they were not quite 100%. Pressured to compete, yes, but also afraid of losing their jobs AND hungry for the glory are also factors in some of their decisions.

It's a shame that so many are weakly influenced by what people say in public and cannot cut through the crap and see the situation for what it really is. The NFL's stance is becoming big-brother-esque. Not a compliment by any stretch of the imagination.

"And let's not forget the players in all this are not always entirely innocent"

Yep, e.g., Ronnie Lott who knocked himself out a number of times hitting backs and receivers to become the most feared safety in his day. Receivers would sometimes just let passes fly by or drop in anticipation of getting smashed by him.

"And let's not forget the players in all this are not always entirely innocent"

Also do not forget that when one suffers a concussion that they are suffering a brain injury, which means they may not be able to make proper decisions. Hence, hiding the helmet. The medical staff must be the ones making the decisions when one suffers a concusion, not the coaches OR player.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on May 14, 2012 5:37 PM.

Jay Cutler on Bears o-line: "There are some questions marks there" was the previous entry in this blog.

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