10.2.17

CONTEMPLATING LIFE AFTER FOOTBALL.

The Green Bay Packers released All-Pro cornerback Sam Shields, who spent most of the just-concluded season on the sideline in concussion protocol.
After spending almost the entire 2016 season in the NFL’s concussion protocol, Shields, 29, revealed Wednesday morning on Instagram that the Packers had released him. That later was confirmed by the league with a "failed physical" designation and the Packers through a news release. He had one year and $9 million left on his contract.
That's disappointing to Mr Shields, and it sounds harsh to say "failed physical."  But the man has taken a beating.  "Shields missed the final 15 regular-season games in 2016 and all of the postseason after sustaining his fifth documented concussion near the end of the Packers’ opener at the Jacksonville Jaguars in September."

The concussion protocol is relatively recent.  It wasn't around when WMAQ's Mike Adamle was winning the Big Ten Player of the Year award -- out of Northwestern, back in the Bo Schembechler, Woody Hayes era.  Mr Adamle has not been at the sports desk for a year, and the concussions he suffered as a Wildcat and later as a Chicago Bear might have caught up with him.

Would he go back and play football if he got a do-over?  "'I would do it again,' he said. 'I would tell you what, though, I would work harder in the offseason to find out about things that protect you when you play.'"

The concussion protocol, perhaps one such protection.  It's written in Mr Adamle's blood, and its implementation might give Mr Shields a better life years from now.

All the good wishes, and stay healthy, gentlemen.

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