As if some (most) players on the Browns weren’t already concerned about coach Eric Mangini working them too hard, another account has emerged of a young player suffering serious injury during a post-practice “opportunity drill.”
First reported by Dan Graziano of FanHouse.com and confirmed by Pat McManamon of the Akron Beacon Journal, defensive end Keith Grennan ruptured a patellar tendon in extra work aimed at giving young players a chance to impress coaches.
It’s unclear whether the players are supposed to impress coaches with skill, toughness, or willingness to risk serious injury. If the latter is a factor, then Grennan should get a job right now.
If, you know, he didn’t have that ruptured patellar tendon.
Earlier this year, running back James Davis suffered a shoulder injury during a similar “opportunity drill,” during which Davis wasn’t wearing pads — and the person who hit him was. The Browns were cleared by the league, which meant that the team could keep doing it.
Though Mangini has previously spun these drills as a chance for young players to earn their way into playing time, football players would stay out on the field for 18 hours if that was what they needed to do to improve their standing on the team and/or to enhance their careers over the long haul. There’s a point at which coaches should not be permitted to exploit the players’ nature.
“You’re forcing them out there after they’ve already practiced and
they’re tired and you’re putting them at risk,” one league source told McManamon. “That’s why Jamal Lewis said what he said. Kids are out there for three
hours . . . something’s going to break.”
On Thursday, Grennan’s knee did break. As a result, Mangini’s career is one step closer to shattering.