He also questioned the effectiveness of new helmets at preventing brain trauma, and contended that the league wasn’t as safety conscious as they’d tell you, since they aren’t taking measures to outlaw cut blocks. Urlacher made similar statements about lying about concussions last year, but said Thursday he wasn’t worried about his future, since he only suffered one major concussion, which knocked him out for “a couple plays.”
He also said cut blocks are a bigger deal than concussions, using a rationale that frankly undercuts the current stance on head injuries.
“Huge because a knee injury can put you out for a season,” Urlacher said. “A concussion you may miss a game or two. Huge difference.”
“I think they shouldn’t allow cut blocks because our knees are important to us too,” Urlacher said. “I know concussions are a big deal too but I think cut blocks are a big deal but that seems to be OK with the NFL so they’re not too concerned about safety. They’re concerned about long-term concussions but immediately they are not concerned about your knees or your ankles or anything like that. I think that should be an issue.
“Concussions are taking care of themselves. It’s a big deal to everyone because of all of the older players coming back and saying they’re all messed up now. That’s definitely an issue but I think the cut blocks need to be a big issue as well.”
Other players might disagree, such as former teammate Hunter Hillenmeyer, who retired after five concussions. But Urlacher made it a question of individual responsibility.
“That’s why you gotta judge if you don’t want to play,” Urlacher said. “Don’t want to get concussed, don’t play. It’s your career, it’s your life. You have to make that decision on your own. Some guys have shut it down because of that. That’s the value of after football, I guess. If I got concussed a lot, I probably wouldn’t keep playing.”
While it’s not an attitude that follows with conventional wisdom, it’s probably a popular view among a segment of players, and one that helps keep the game going.