Three teams who put player safety first

By
Updated: February 15, 2013

Amidst stories of teams telling their injured players to and , it is refreshing to see instances in which a team genuinely puts player safety before the importance of winning a game. Three such examples have happened in recent years within the NFC North, and they all make me respect the men making decisions for those teams immensely.

Despite his desire to continue playing, the Packers refused to jeopardize Nick Collins' safety by putting him back on the field after a brutal neck injury.

Despite his desire to continue his career, the Green Bay Packers refused to jeopardize the safety of defensive back Nick Collins by returning him to the field after a brutal neck injury.

Nick Collins

Early in the 2011 season, Green Bay Packers safety Nick Collins suffered a . Green Bay kept him on the roster for the entire season before deciding it was not safe for him to play football anymore. Collins retired shortly thereafter. General manager Ted Thompson said that “we were not comfortable clearing him to play again. As with all of our players, Nick is a member of our family and we thought of him that way as we came to this conclusion.”

Collins had been one of the leaders of a defense that played well in the team’s Super Bowl run, and the Packers clearly missed his presence on the field. Faced with an opportunity to clear him, helping their defense but exposing him to further serious injury, the team chose to put his wellbeing first, something football fans—here at WCSN and everywhere—should take notice of and applaud.

Jahvid Best

The Detroit Lions helped running back Jahvid Best realize that he needed to retire due to repeated concussions.

The Detroit Lions helped running back Jahvid Best realize that he needed to retire due to repeated concussions.

The Detroit Lions faced a similar situation with running back Jahvid Best, who suffered a severe concussion () in October of 2011. The Lions, who had started 5-0 with Best’s explosive playmaking, stumbled to a 5-7 finish over their remaining 12 games.

Heading into the 2012 season, Best had still not been cleared by doctors, and Detroit likely at least suspected that he never would be, yet they still kept him on the roster, paying him his salary and providing him with free, top-notch medical care.  After the season, it was announced that . Once again, a team had a chance to try and get a valuable player back on the field at the risk of his long-term safety, but decided instead to listen to doctors and make player safety the main priority.

Johnny Knox

Just a few months later, toward the end of the 2011 season, Chicago Bears wide receiver Johnny Knox was and nearly paralyzed towards the end of the 2011 season.

Even though he could barely walk at the start of the next season, the team kept Knox on the roster, once again giving the player access to money () and top-notch medical care they were not obligated to provide. Despite Knox’s public insistence that he , Chicago , and he .

Setting the example

Three teams, three talented players in position of need, three franchises put their players’ health ahead of putting the best possible talent on the field. Their good example stands in stark contrast to the recent behavior of the Washington Redskins, who let a clearly hobbled Robert Griffin III play in the playoffs because . These teams trusted their medical professionals to make the call, even over the pleadings of their players, who were filled with passion for the game and a burning desire to win. For that they have earned my deep respect. Here’s hoping more teams follow their lead.

Anyone who saw this hit on Johnny Knox knew he shouldn't play football again, but the Bears should still be commended for putting Knox before their own interests.

Anyone who saw this hit on Johnny Knox knew he shouldn’t play football again, but the Chicago Bears should still be commended for putting the health of Knox before their own interests.

 

About the author

Jon Vander Woude enjoys writing in-depth analytical articles that examine statistical trends in the NFL offseason. He also covers the Chicago Bears beat for Water Cooler Sports. Despite growing up in Michigan, California, and Miami, he had the good fortune to be reared by a father who grew up in Chicago raised him to root for the Bears, Bulls, and Cubs. Feel free to write him at with any questions, comments, or suggestions for future columns. Connect with

306 comments
Joedirte
Joedirte

reggiesnodeuce
reggiesnodeuce moderator

 

hahaha yeah...i remember that.

Joedirte
Joedirte

  The funny part is when Red Foreman isnt looking and all of a sudden SPLAT all over his windshield

___pb___
___pb___

There has been a new post up for a while. I have to get to a photo shoot, so I will talk to you blokes later.

JJ89Carolina
JJ89Carolina

Eagles want a 1st or 2nd round pick in return for Nick Foles haha and Browns might trade Weeden

SDL
SDL

 

Even though Foles is the NFL incarnation of Napoleon Dynamite... he has shown flashes and has the physical tools to be pretty fucking good

Whether he ever realizes this PO-tenial remains to be seen


robertj72
robertj72

Atlanta could really clean up if they offered Ryan and secured Alex Smith... Just saying! If Foles is a 1st and 2nd...Ryan would be two 1st a 2nd and a handful of deeper picks.

Maized and Confused
Maized and Confused moderator like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

  

Whatever you may think of Matt Ryan, Alex Smith is not an upgrade.

robertj72
robertj72

     That is 100% untrue. My analytical mind know Ryan is highly overrated and paid. My want is Atlanta to keep Ryan. He is top shelf comic relief when my Panthers miss the playoffs which has sadly happened often the last 5 years. 

Joedirte
Joedirte

     He just wants the Falcons to trade Ryan so that the Panthers can make the playoffs.....Guess The Saints better Trade Brees then....Bear Fans will write up 5 articles about how the Packers need to just release Rodgers too

Maized and Confused
Maized and Confused moderator

   

At 17-20 Mil, I would agree, at 13Mil, I think you're better off with Ryan.

robertj72
robertj72

   The rookie pay scale makes them very affordable...life has changed in the NFL. Ryan's agent is expected to ask for 17-20M a year...even at 13 it is too much for what you get.

Maized and Confused
Maized and Confused moderator

   

How much is Ryan making a year compared to what Smith is asking for? (8.5 Mil for Smith, I think?)

Draft picks are worthless if you can't pay for them.

robertj72
robertj72

   He is a lateral move...even if he is 10% less Alex Smith PLUS two 1st rounders and a 2nd rounder and a 4th rounder (which would be more than fair for atlanta to settle for) is better than Ryan and not having those pieces.

Buhlitz
Buhlitz

i have a lot more respect for the Rams if they were just trolling Titus

Aciddragon
Aciddragon moderator

 they claimed him off waivers didn't they? 

JJ89Carolina
JJ89Carolina

   Rams claimed him off waivers and after 10 days of being on the Roster Rams are waiving him

robertj72
robertj72

  When you have the Rams WR corp and then you decide Young isn't good enough....Does it get more insulting than that?

JJ89Carolina
JJ89Carolina

 I have no idea but they must think he isnt a good fit

Aciddragon
Aciddragon moderator

 oh damn, why claim him in the first place?

robertj72
robertj72

damn it the blog is pulling it's crap again...hiding comments from me!

robertj72
robertj72

some one told me to look up top...what was that about?

Aciddragon
Aciddragon moderator like.author.displayName 1 Like

 SDL posted a SOCO add that says liquid panty remover. in reference to your "i'm opening a bar" comment 

robertj72
robertj72

  yeah, I'm not a Jagger fan. I can do serious damage to a bottle of Goldschlager...and subsequently to myself.

Aciddragon
Aciddragon moderator

 yuck, Lewis Black said it best about Jager. " you know how they make it? they ring the bar rag out into a bottle at the end of the night. that's how you make Jager"

robertj72
robertj72

  AHHH, I have found Rum or beer will work for most. Jagger got me to 3rd base with a very dedicated lesbian once..that was impressive.

SDL
SDL like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

The reason this is so FUCKING funny:

CUZ IT'S SO FUCKING TRUE

Aciddragon
Aciddragon moderator like.author.displayName 1 Like

 at least SOCO is honest 

TheChainsawNinja
TheChainsawNinja

Alright we cut Williams, we cut Hawk, we cut Pickett, and we cut Finley.  Any questions?

Aciddragon
Aciddragon moderator

 i thought that Pickett was a FA? but i don't really think we can cut him(if he is still on the roster) right now, Worthy is still hurt, and Pickett is the only real big guy we got on the d-line 

TheChainsawNinja
TheChainsawNinja

Am I the only person who wants to cut Tramon Williams?

Big Cheese
Big Cheese like.author.displayName 1 Like

 

That wouldn't be prudent. But someone might want to teach him about the tackling part of defense.

Aciddragon
Aciddragon moderator like.author.displayName 1 Like

 Deon Sanders?

Joedirte
Joedirte

  its De I on Sanders the extra I was for his selfish play over team play

Big Cheese
Big Cheese

  

Dude clearly never played Kill the Carrier.

Aciddragon
Aciddragon moderator

 no many Packer fans are waiting/hoping, personally i'm hoping for Hawk to go first 

TheChainsawNinja
TheChainsawNinja

  AJ Hawk showed some improvement this year, though.  In all honestly the only reason we'd cut him is because we have plenty of other options at MLB.

Joedirte
Joedirte

  No Tramon Williams wants cut so he can go to  a better team

robertj72
robertj72

Freddy Krugerr and Mrs. Bobbitt said get in line.