Originally written on It's Always Sunny in Detroit  |  Last updated 11/9/14

Mark Snyder / Detroit Free Press Detroit Lions legend and football Hall of Famer Lem Barney sat in front of dozens of kids who wish to make a football their career Friday and told them not to. Barney spoke at the Sound Mind Sound Body Camp in Southfield (MI), which was also attended by Mark Dantonio and Brady Hoke, and told high school kids that wishes he would have been a cab driver or truck driver instead of a Hall of Fame cornerback.  Barney, who was the first Lions superstar who wore #20, went on to predict that football will be extinct within two decades. “People often ask me do I miss the game, do I wish I could still play with all the money they’re making today. Even with all of that, I’d say ‘Heck no.  The game is becoming more deadly today. It’s a great game, and I think it’s the greatest game if you like gladiators. It’s the greatest game for yesteryear’s gladiators. But in the next 10 to 20 years, society will alleviate football altogether because of how strong it’s becoming, how big it’s becoming and the tenacity that it already is. And it’s only going to get worse.” Barney, who doctors have said had seven or eight concussions during his playing career, told his son not to play football years ago and has been tried to coerce his grandson not to play.  Barney’s grandson is set to play at Jackson State, Lem’s alma mater. On Sunday, Barney issued an apology – not for the substance of his diatribe, but rather the place. “The other day at the Sound Mind and Body Camp I was asked about my thoughts on football and safety. While I made comments I believe to be truthful it is apparent to me now that the camp was not the forum for those comments. These are the same comments I have made for years before Congress, under oath and at numerous events for retired players and it’s become second nature. I don’t want to discourage young men from their love of the game, I just want the game to be safe. What I said were things I feel, things that happened to me, but obviously it was not the right time or place. I have the utmost respect for Coach Hoke, Dantonio, and all MHSAA, CYO, PAL and Pop Warner coaches and I apologize to any of the coaches whom I made uncomfortable at the event. I wish all those involved in our great sport a long, healthy and SAFE career.” I think we can chalk this up to an old man who has been there, done that and thinking that he’s fighting the good fight.  When really, it isn’t his place to tell a high school kid what career he should and shouldn’t choose.  A lot of good things can come from making a living playing football.  It’s a shame that Barney lives with the bad.

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