4. The Ugly Truth About Playing in the NFL
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On rare occasions, some players will tell the complete truth. All of the pretenses falls. The cliches die. And we get an inside look at what they're really thinking, minus the PR spin.
Former tight end Jordan Cameron, who recently retired after suffering his fourth concussion in six seasons, recently did just that.
After Cameron announced his retirement, ESPN's Pat McManamon asked him whether he loved football. His answer was fascinating:I don't think a lot of these guys love football, to be honest. A lot of them don't. You play for other reasons, and every guy has their own reason. They know why, and as long as your why is really important, you keep playing without really loving football.I have heard this same type of sentiment privately from players for years. A lot of players. They don't want these feelings to go public because some fans who see football in simplistic terms don't fully understand what it takes to play this violent game, and they would be quick to criticize.
Because really, who loves to get hit in 10-degree weather by a 280-pound person? Really, no one likes that. 'Do you love football?' I couldn't stand when people asked me that.
Playing professional football is a job, one of the most violent in the world. Many do it for money, which is the same thing that motivates other people in other jobs.
Some fans want players to do what they themselves do not, which is love their job. And while players often talk to me about loving the locker room, that's usually as far as their warm feelings go.
"Do you really love football?" Cameron told McMenamin. "A lot of guys don't really love it. There's a few guys that love it. Ray Lewis loves football. Peyton Manning. They love it. But a lot of guys don't really love this game, and there are players that will read this who will understand exactly what I'm talking about."