Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 7/11/12
The Summer Offensive:  Confusion Reigns Supreme
 
“…even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.”
 
                                                                 -Tacitus
 
Or maybe…
 
“My purpose is to relate ... without either anger or zeal, motives from which I am far removed.”
 
                                                                 -Tacitus
 
Or how about…
 
“If you’re going through Hell, keep going.”
 
                                                                                   -Winston Churchill
  Well, a three-headed epigraph? Bitter hydra! It seems that all roads lead to entropy eh? What are we to make of all this opaque, ill-formed muck?
 
Adrian Peterson’s stunning arrest has conjured queer feelings across the state of Minnesota, and indeed the entire football world. Only time will tell if it’s the work of an overzealous cop or an increasingly frustrated star running back who has taken to quoting Winston Churchill. In other corners another Lions’ defensive tackle is on an image rehabilitation tour. This has become an irritating and recurrent theme.  Remember the days when defensive linemen wanted you to think they were walking scum, possessing only the most Hunnish of moralities? Joe Green had no qualms about spitting in the face of Dick Butkus, or kicking opposing players in the groin repeatedly. Deacon Jones made a career out of smacking guys in the side of the head with his troll paw.
 
But football has to deal with the ever-moving waters of time, like anything else. Even the National Religion is not exempt from these kinds of things. Given the growing outrage and confusion over concussions and bounties and drunken players driving vehicles at high speeds it may be prudent to duck the head. The world is spinning faster these days, and if you aren’t careful it will be your brains on the wall.
 
But enough of this babble! We have a point to be here I think. And as soon as I’m done throwing strange hurdles in your way and pontificating in a general sense we will probably get to it.
 
I sit here trying to make sense out of the idle palaver coming out of every corner, from small sects of former players plying lawsuits in far-flung courtrooms, to the toothless jabbering of the NFLPA over Roger Goodell’s powers, to the strange clicking argot of the NFL denying Everything. There is a part of me that wants to try and sort through this turd heap and come up with some explanation, some unifying theory that is nice and neat and that you can put in your pocket and unfurl at dinner parties to smash uncouth bastards over the head with.
 
But there is a far more menacing and sensible part of me that wants to quit this whole scene and sequester myself in the forest with nothing but whiskey and smoke and Tacitus’s account of the Germanic tribes. I want to forget the whole rotten affair and wander off into the Midwestern jungle and not return until the 5th of September, when everything will be in its proper place again and we can bicker over football Proper, not these illusionary litigative phantoms.
 
Unfortunately I’m tied to this brutal beat like we all are in a way, and we must at least pretend to make sense of it. But that is where the rubber meets the road, and it’s not a pretty scene. There is a sea of cognitive dissonance to cross, and all we have are some knee-high waders to do it in.
 
Two recent stories bear some of this trouble out. Priest Holmes, former All Pro running back, most notably for the Chiefs, recently spoke with Fox Sports. He is not involved in any of the ongoing concussion lawsuits, but his words are those of a man who has reached a strange crossroads in his thinking.
 
In his interview Holmes recounted some of the more apocalyptic effects of concussions, including the color of the sky changing red, or green, or even seeing rays of clear light, as at the end of a tunnel. He went on to describe some of his more long-term difficulties.
 
"As much as I loved [football], that same love now has put me in situations that I have to live with, the frontal headaches, the migraines. Laying in bed, it's tough to get out mornings just because of the pain that is setting in with an arthritic condition, it's things like that that you never would have really thought about."
 
Holmes’ words are the words of man who achieved greatness and some measure of wealth, and now sits reflecting on the odd price of these things in the world of football. He is a man who climbed the mountain and now wonders at what he sees below.
 
Jahvid Best, the third-year running back for the Detroit Lions, gave his own interview to Mlive.com in early June. His sentiments seemed markedly different. Most of his 2011 season was wiped away by a severe concussion. Best remarked “I'm pretty sure if there was any real damage going on, I would have physical problems and mental problems. I have no problems. I'm not worried." He went on to compare his recent history with the infamous concussion he suffered in college. "That one I was actually unconscious, so that was totally different. That's why I'm not worried about it. If I can come back from that one, this one should be a piece of cake."
 
Best’s words seem glaringly ignorant in many ways. Not only does the man have a history of concussions, but he has a history of severe, YouTube worthy concussions. We’re talking about instances of being knocked out cold and going rigid like an epileptic patient. We’re talking about entire seasons lost to head injury.
 
Yet Best seems convinced that if he had incurred any real damage he would already have problems, which demonstrates one of the fundamental misunderstandings about the nature of these things. Often the damage does not manifest itself until later in life. Just as often the damage is dealt by the series of sub-concussive hits inherent to playing football, never mind the brain bruising episodes Best has endured.
 
But Best’s situation is much different than that of Priest Holmes. Best is still at the bottom of the mountain looking up. Holmes has gotten signing bonuses the size of Best’s entire five-year contract, which could terminate at any point and leave him with a scant financial return.
 
Best is still in the thick of it. Not only does he have to convince a team that he is completely healthy, if not somewhat invincible and therefore a good candidate for long-term investment, but he must convince himself of this very fallacy if he is to have the fortitude to strap it on every Sunday.
 
Best is still trying to maximize his earning potential. The moment he ceases to be an NFL running back and becomes the most odious of things, an ex-NFL running back, his earning potential goes from millions of dollars a year to nothing. If he plays less than 10 years, a brutal likelihood for running backs, he will qualify for about $14,000 in annual pension payments, just at the U.S. poverty level, and much of which will likely be swallowed up in medical expenses.
 
So perhaps we must not vilify Best for his seeming ignorance, and instead realize that in the strange exalted niche he has come to occupy—a niche exalted by us no less—a certain measure of ignorance is essential to survival. Best does not have time to ponder long-term medical problems. He has to get while the getting is good.
 
No one wants to give a lucrative contract to a running back who is worried about his own head and his long-term health and who suddenly feels like waxing philosophical on the strange price of wealth and fame in this man’s NFL. Few general managers place value in a player who is already contemplating his own demise. It’s an onerous thing to do, and only the dying really ever try.
  “…those who really apply themselves in the right way to philosophy are directly and of their own accord preparing themselves for dying and death.”
                                                           
                                                                      -Socrates

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Irving believes LeBron leaked word of trade request

Spieth tells caddie to 'get that' after incredible eagle putt

Jerry Jones weighs in on NFL's Ezekiel Elliott investigation

Report: Les Miles 'extremely interested'; in Ole Miss job

Draymond Green, Conor McGregor go at it on Instagram

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

McFadden missed Cowboys charter flight to training camp

Amari Cooper shows up to training camp looking jacked

LaVar Ball pulls entire AAU team from floor, forfeits game

WATCH: Tim Tebow blasts home run No. 4 since being promoted

Saban: HS players could start skipping senior seasons

Mike Williams shoots down reports he will need surgery

Getaway Day: A pair of aces get lost in the shuffle

Sports & Politics Intersect: Trump casts shadow over U.S. Women's Open

Best of Yardbarker: General managers take the spotlight

The 'Pay that man his money' quiz

The unexpected rise of the Connecticut Sun

The National League Wild Card is suddenly relevant again

Kicking It: USMNT struggles to find consistency in Gold Cup as World Cup qualifying nears

Three Up, Three Down: The Dodgers are a complete juggernaut right now

BIG3 Week 5: Pivotal make-or-break weekend in Chicago

Who won the Open Championship in the year you were born?

Making an NFL GM change in the summer has its benefits

Box Score 7/21: Stay cool this weekend sports fans

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Getaway Day: A pair of aces get lost in the shuffle

Sports & Politics Intersect: Trump casts shadow over U.S. Women's Open

The National League Wild Card is suddenly relevant again

The 'Pay that man his money' quiz

BIG3 Week 5: Pivotal make-or-break weekend in Chicago

The 'Let's show a little love for James Jones' quiz

Making an NFL GM change in the summer has its benefits

The 'Yoan Moncada era starts now' quiz

The Orioles need to unwind past deals if they are going to rebuild

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Sam Hinkie is calling the shots

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker