With the Browns acquiring new and hopefully more determined ownership, I’m making an honest effort to get back into NFL football this season.
(Short history: Loved the Browns as a kid, Browns left, I left for LA (no NFL team), Browns came back, Browns an embarrassing cloned dog of a franchise for 10+ years, I came back, Browns get sold to Jimmy Haslem.
Essentially, I was without NFL football for 15 years or so.)
I like what I’ve read about this new owner and everything he has to say, so I find myself legitimately capable of being interested in the Cleveland Browns for the first time in awhile.
At the same time, the culture around football is a little unsettling, what with all the concussion and brain damage talk.
There’s Junior Seau, of course, and then I read about these Pop Warner contact studies or watch the Jim McMahon interview embedded below, and it’s hard to read this paragraph from WFNY’s training camp report without cringing a bit.
The play of the day, and perhaps the hardest hit of camp to date belongs to Buster Skrine. Skrine came up from his CB position to blow up Oniel Cousins who was pulling on a sweep play. The crack of the hit echoed throughout the facility followed by screams and hoots from both the fans in the stands and the players watching on the sidelines.
I’m not an uber-pacifist, but there’s just something that doesn’t feel right about that.
It’s never been a secret that the game does some damage to these guys, and they partake in it of their own volition, but still.
I’ve taken a couple blows to the head that resulted in concussions – one of which broke half my face – and I’m positive it’s had a residual affect.
For example, I had to Google “famous Bears quarterback” a few minutes ago, when a few minutes before that I remembered his name fine.
I know that’s not evidence of anything, but things like that happen to me here and there. Sometimes I’ll be in my apartment but I don’t recognize where I am – like I know the layout, but none of it feels like I’ve ever been here before.
People I’ve asked say that doesn’t happen to them, so I assume there’s something else going on. I can’t imagine if I’d had 20 of these incidents at various levels of intensity, and multiple minor collisions for 16 straight weeks, each and every year.
Anyway, I hope the Browns do well and I hope I can really get engaged with them again, but I don’t know how I’ll feel when people think the best part of the game is when someone gets their head cracked enough that it echoes through the stadium.
I know it’s a far more complicated issue than that, but I’ve been gone for awhile and could swear I’ve never seen my own sofa before, so give me some time.