Maybe Ravens safety Bernard Pollard is hoping he’s prophetic.
After saying earlier this week that he wasn’t sure the NFL would even exist in 30 years, he said Tuesday he’d prefer his his son to not play football.
At the same time, one of the league’s hardest hitters knows that’s only his call for so long.
“My whole stance right now, this is my outlet, I would let him play the game,” Pollard said. “ For us as fathers and mothers, we want our kids to have better than what we had, so that comes down to us setting up things later on in life and kind of prepping them as they grow. If he’s going to want to play, then I would let him play. I don’t want him to, but I would let him play, so he’s starting to see that he can kick the ball and everything else. It’s just hard; my son’s 4 years old. He’s seeing now, he wants to throw the ball around, he wants to be tackled, he wants to do all those things, so I see that. I see it in him.
“That’s one of the things that’s kind of hard to watch, and we talk about it all the time, but you know, it sucks because, I don’t ever want to see my son [get hurt], and I know concussions happen, but just to see him go through it, the daily grind and the aches and the pains of the body and young injuries, I don’t want to see my son go through that.”
At the same time, Pollard doesn’t exactly play the way that would set an example for his son.
But he said the physical pain also comes with a gain, as the benefits of the sport go beyond the more comfortable environment the money can provide.
“Well, I think it’s one of those things where it teaches you discipline, it teaches you responsibility, because you’re not, it’s no longer about you. It’s about high school, college, however many guys are on the team, and it’s about all of them,” Pollard said. “You have to think about them before you want to make certain decisions, coaches that you come across in pee wee, metro, middle school, high school, college, you know it’s just about those relationships, and for me, it’s about me, you know, that I have to be more responsible. I have to be disciplined as a man, as a father and as a husband, you know, and I think so many people, the game of football, you get a small window to play this game.
“Life is so much bigger than this, and we as players and coaches and media, we make this game harder than what it is. It’s still a game. It really is. It’s still a game, you know. We are men, and life is so much greater than this.”
But his greater responsibility is to his family, and though Pollard has been steadfast about his own play, his hesitance to subject his flesh and blood to it is telling.