This is the time of year that the baseball season is halfway over, but there’s still plenty of action to come, as the playoffs are a week away and the World Series is still on the horizon. With the time fast approaching to make a decision, I’m turning to the statistics and conclusions we’ve come to over the past few months.
A new season is upon us, and many will be trying to stay on top of the best teams in the league throughout the year. For the Milwaukee Bucks, it is no different, as they are excited to have another season to add to their streak of playoff appearances.
Chicago Bears fans probably weren’t too upset when the team finally parted ways with Jay Cutler after the 2016 season. In the end, the talented quarterback posted a disappointing 51-51 record in his eight years with the NFL’s historic club. But for every ounce of verbal and written criticism Cutler has had to endure in his career, he has also had to pay the physical toll of professional football.
And even though he only got out of the NFL a few years ago, the former Bears player is already starting to feel the side effects of the league, which can cause serious long-term health problems. By speaking candidly about concussions and making frightening predictions about BSE, Mr. Cutler has once again drawn attention to a subject that should not be taken lightly.
Cutler, who was selected 11th overall by the Denver Broncos in the 2006 NFL Draft, entered the league under the radar. With his powerful right arm and underrated athletic ability, he seemed destined to become a star.
That’s not how it happened.
In fact, he has only made it to the Pro Bowl once in his 12-year NFL career. And when it came to leading his team to victory, Cutler did not excel in that area. He went 17-20 in three seasons with the Broncos before being traded to the Bearz. His time in Chicago resulted in a .500 winning percentage and a terrible 154:109 touchdown to interception ratio.
Of course, it also didn’t help that Cutler was struggling to stay on the field. After playing all 16 games in the 2007-09 season, he was unable to repeat that feat. According to Sports Injury Predictor, Cutler has suffered the following injuries during his NFL career:
- Four concussions
- Fracture of the right thumb
- Dislocated right thumb
- Sprained ankle
- Rupture of the labrum of the right shoulder
- Rib breaks
He also had 322 sacks in 153 regular season games. Cutler was targeted more often (52) than any other quarterback in the league in 2010. Needless to say, he took a lot of hits and hard punches before he hung up his helmet and epaulettes.
Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler leaves the field accompanied by the team’s medical staff after suffering an injury during the game against Washington. | Harry E. Walker/Tribune News Service via Getty Images
Retired NFL players must deal with the long-term consequences of having put their bodies on the line to make a living. GQ’s Clay Skipper posted a Q&A with Cutler that focused on his health. Unfortunately for the former Bears quarterback, the effects of annual physical injuries are already being felt.
Admitting that he definitely thinks about BSE, concussions and how they affect him, Cutler revealed some initial details about where he is now and where he thinks he will be in the future.
I would say my memory is not what it was five years ago, he told GQ. The number of concussions I’ve had is probably in the double digits. It will catch up with me one day. I’m just trying to put it off as long as possible.
Although Cutler had to adjust his diet and try NAD therapy to delay what he thought was inevitable, he didn’t change his mind about whether playing in the NFL was worth it.
Of course I would play, he said: What if you could do it all over again? I don’t even doubt it. I’d sign off right now.
Cutler has openly admitted that he is likely to suffer from CTE in the future. This is the reality for many retired NFL players. Given the number of collisions between the sidelines, it’s not surprising that playing professional football comes with potentially dangerous consequences. Cutler’s examination of his own situation sheds light on the well-documented issue of ETC.
Given the large number of suicides of former NFL players who suffered from this degenerative brain disease, the fact that athletes put their lives at risk while playing the game they love cannot be ignored.
Two years after leaving the league, legendary midfielder Junior Sioux committed suicide.
ESPN later reported that five brain specialists consulted by the National Institutes of Health concluded that he suffered from a form of chronic brain damage that has also been found in dozens of deceased former players.
In 2018, NPR reported that the Shaw family had reached a settlement with the NFL in a wrongful death suit.
At this point, the link between concussions, CTE and playing professional football seems unquestionable. The league should make every effort to effectively protect players during the and periods after the end of their careers. Perhaps Cutler’s honesty will draw attention and continue to prove that retirement is not so easy for NFL players who have been injured on the job.
COMPARED TO: Patrick Mahomes deserves a round of applause for his heartfelt thanks to late Chiefs reporter Teresa Paylor
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