Sometimes in life, you need to look beyond the scope of simply what's important to you. The NFL lost another member of it's family a week ago today with the suicide of Junior Seau, a future Hall-of-Fame linebacker who played for the San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots.Most of the time when we think about football, we muse about our team and what the upcoming season will bring. Maybe it has a Super Bowl in it, or merely some good memories to hold onto when the campaign closes.
However it's now time to start thinking about what is at stake when these hulking giants strap on their helmets and go to battle. The passing of Seau is just another reminder that long after the players ride off into the sunset, the ramifications on the field linger on for some.
Seau, like Dave Duerson, shot himself in the chest instead of the head. Duerson did it to preserve his brain for research, it's not yet been determined if Seau had the same motive.
As fans, we like to watch the huge hits and hear the clashing of helmets and cracking of pads in the autumn wind and winter chill. It's entertainment, and the violence is part of the attraction. Some may not like to admit it, but the constant fighting for every inch is what draws the public in much more than a beautiful pass down the sideline.
It doesn't make us wrong to feel this way, but we need to pay attention and care about the well being of these athletes. When we all go to sleep at night, whether it's a retail salesman or Jamaal Charles, we're human beings who have families, friends and lives to lead.
The argument will be made that these players know what they're getting into and since they get paid a handsome sum, it's not our worry. I disagree wholeheartedly.
As people and fans of football, this is a problem we all share in. Forget that it's players who are dying; it's fathers, sons, husbands and brothers passing away due to something that can be fixed without destroying the game.
This isn't just a league problem either. DeMaurice Smith and the Players Association need to continue to up to the plate, and even more. Everyone involved.
The NFL needs to make some mandatory changes. If nothing else, offer the helmet and widely publicize that they're doing so. It will create some public pressure and make some changes.
The players who make this such an incredible and memorizing sport need to be protected, not only from each other but from themselves.
It's not just a game, it's people's lives being put in jeopardy every time the ball is snapped.
Junior Seau, Dave Duerson, Ray Easterling and others are gone. Here's to hoping the powers that be get it right before it's too late for somebody else.
Listen to the dead and help the living.