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Ed Reed: Junior Seau knew what he was signing up for

Super Bowl XLVII Media Day Getty Images

Ravens safety Ed Reed hasn’t been shy when it comes to expressing his thoughts about the NFL’s attempts to increase player safety.

Reed said earlier this season that the only way to stop concussions it to stop playing football and the topic came up again in New Orleans. Reed admitted that he has days where he wakes up and wonders where his memory went, but said that he signed up for that by choosing to play a violent game. Reed said that every player signed up knowing that there were repercussions for it, leading to Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News asking if the late Junior Seau signed up for it.

“Did he sign up for it?’ Yeah, he signed up to play football. Things are going to happen. Do I want it to happen? No. When I was on a golf course, did I want to hear about Junior Seau? No, I didn’t want to hear that. I grew up watching him play. That was a sad day, a sad day,” Reed said. “Junior gave everything to football, and I’m sure he’s looking down with no regrets.”

Bernard Pollard, Reed’s parter in the Ravens secondary, said this week that he fears football won’t exist in 30 years. Reed’s comments are a pretty good argument against that view. As long as there are people willing to accept the repercussions of football in exchange for a well-paid job, the sport is going to continue to exist.

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34 Responses to “Ed Reed: Junior Seau knew what he was signing up for”
  1. blacknole08 says: Jan 30, 2013 12:23 PM

    Ed Reed kept it one hundred.

    Players need to be held more accountabile for their actions and decisions. And they surely like the money, fame and women that come with it.

    The league did not force them to play and not everyone can be an NFL player. If that were the case, sign me up. I don’t drop passes.

  2. joetoronto says: Jan 30, 2013 12:27 PM

    Jr Seau was a selfish egomaniac who couldn’t live without being adored.

    He essentially destroyed his two little kids and his mother.

  3. kvvvv2391 says: Jan 30, 2013 12:28 PM

    I agree with Reed that these guys know what they are signing up for. I respect him taking responsibility for his life decisions. I am appalled by these opportunists who claim ignorance to the potential for long term injuries or affects, when there is a money grab to be made.

  4. bigkat74 says: Jan 30, 2013 12:29 PM

    Ed is exactly right! American’s as a society are always looking to place the blame on others or find alternate reasons for something happening instead of holding an individual responsible for their own actions. Is it sad that Seau’s life ended the way it did, YES. Is it the NFL’s fault, NO! Seau played football his whole life, continued to sign contracts and play even after having injuries. Neither he nor his family seemed to worried when the checks were being cashed. Even when symptoms arose and he knew there might be issues he still chose to play. He had the warning signs, his family saw them, but neither he or his family sought out help to prevent his ultimate end. Then all of a sudden it’s the leagues fault. It is time to stop all the ridiculous questions to all former and present players about if they would let their kids play football, etc. Football is a dangerous sport where injuries can and will occur, if you choose to play the sport and are injured as a result it is your own fault for making the decision to play, not the leagues or anyone elses!!!

  5. bharr170 says: Jan 30, 2013 12:30 PM

    Glad somebody has the stones to say what we were all thinking.

    The Seau family suing the NFL has nothing to do with Junior’s memory and has everything to do with MONEY.

  6. kvvvv2391 says: Jan 30, 2013 12:31 PM

    The players can’t have it both ways. They complain that the league is pussifying the sport and then turn around and sue the league for not doing more to protect them. Makes no sense!

  7. bigtrav425 says: Jan 30, 2013 12:31 PM

    He is spot on with that.they all KNOW what they are signing up for and that’s the bottom line.

  8. gochargersgo says: Jan 30, 2013 12:32 PM

    Tell it how it is Ed. Much respect. Wish more players would take a public stance like this.

  9. ngatanotheroutofcontextquote says: Jan 30, 2013 12:35 PM

    Hang up your cleats for good Sunday and a take a job on harbs staff Ed. There is literally nothing left to prove and there’s more to life than football. A couple of sub par yrs won’t do anything to enhance his legacy.

  10. fanofevilempire says: Jan 30, 2013 12:36 PM

    In the future players will have to sign a waiver not to sue and accept that football is violent.
    I feel bad for Junior and his family but Reed is telling the truth.

  11. worldsgreatest says: Jan 30, 2013 12:37 PM

    If coal miners get crushed in a cave in because their employeer just decides,”It is what it is. I’m not going to make work safer because they knew what they signed up for,” is that right? No. Just because a job is dangerous does not preclude an employer from continuing to enforce progressive changes to the work environment.

    Adults make dumb decisions all of the time. It doesn’t mean that people who have their best interests at heart shouldn’t at least try to improve the work environment from a safety perspective. In all arenas; not just sports.

  12. niko0063 says: Jan 30, 2013 12:42 PM

    No one is forced to play football. If they dont want problems later in life, they can sit in a cubical or work in a factory and earn a middle class salary like most people. If they want to make millions and live that life, thats the consequence.

  13. scoobies05 says: Jan 30, 2013 12:47 PM

    agreed. players know the risks involved. its a violent collision based sport. that said i am very sorry that we lost junior seau so young. and i feel for all the players that are struggling in life after football. but again…you know what you are getting in to. stan humphries retired pretty young after multiple concussions because he one day wanted to play with his grandkids. 20 years ago he knew what was going on

  14. melikefootball says: Jan 30, 2013 12:49 PM

    Not a Ravens fan, so thumbs up to Reed. Nice to hear no sugar coating, players want and know what they are getting into. Hard to blame the NFL for all when most of these players were ingaged in football in grade school. You feel for Seau family but the tyruth is the truth. Saul even retired and came back for more.

  15. tannethrill says: Jan 30, 2013 12:54 PM

    I’ve avoided saying it but I tend to agree with Reed. Not only did Junior sign up for it but he stayed around much longer than most and I’d have to assume his symptoms began even before he was traded from San Diego to Miami and then he went to New England.

    Terrible situation but I think in the end Junior got. what he wanted which was increased awareness on the issue and a safer game that he himself couldn’t say no to. The point was in the end there are precautions that can be taken and I can honestly say the game is safer now partly because of the way Junior left this world.

    You could even compare the game to a drug. Many drug users know it’s no good for them but they can’t say no.

  16. ravenator says: Jan 30, 2013 12:58 PM

    Ed Reed drops knowledge and on Sunday night he gets to hoist the Lombardi.

  17. monkeesfan says: Jan 30, 2013 1:05 PM

    The point everyone keeps missing – the concussion issue is NOT as bad as it’s being portrayed. These players are far tougher than they’re being given credit for – we see that in Steve Young, Troy Aikman, Jerry Rice, and the thousands of others – and they outnumber the failures multiple times to one – who had multiple concussions but have healed and lead productive, normal lives.

    Junior Seau did not kill himself – no suicides happen – because of an alleged brain injury about which there is mostly assumption and little fact.

  18. nflfan87 says: Jan 30, 2013 1:05 PM

    Someone please tell me how Junior Seau knew about CTE when he was playing in the NFL when it wasn’t even a disease that was discovered yet??

    This is such an uneducated statement from Reed and anyone who agrees with it.

  19. poridge1214 says: Jan 30, 2013 1:06 PM

    “If coal miners get crushed in a cave in because their employeer just decides,”It is what it is. I’m not going to make work safer because they knew what they signed up for,” is that right? No. Just because a job is dangerous does not preclude an employer from continuing to enforce progressive changes to the work environment.”

    You have flawed logic here, and it’s a false equivalency. Getting killed on the job isn’t the same as dying from the effects of the job years later. A true equivalency would be a coal miner dying in a mine, and a player dying from the collapse of a stadium. Or, a player dying years down the line from brain disease, and a coal miner dying years later from inhaling toxic dust. Your argument was stupid.

    A cop is a cop knowing full well he may be shot and killed on the job. A soldier knows the same is possible. A football player who is getting millions by the age of 20, without a college education, cannot cry foul when the effects of daily physical contact finally catch up to him. That same football player could have used that free education to get a degree and sit in an office all day for $50K per year, but chose another more lucrative road. Stop.

  20. katejake says: Jan 30, 2013 1:07 PM

    It’s fine if Seaus family wants to sue the NFL.But first he has to pay back every single dollar he made.

  21. godofwine330 says: Jan 30, 2013 1:12 PM

    My one quoestion is this: Why is it that the other less violent sports have guaranteed contracts, whereas the most violent sport has no guaranteed contracts AND one of the worst pension programs, and add to it the Hall of Famers get no benefits, either.

    This is shameful. I don’t know. Whomever came up with the idea that signing bonuses was more important than fully guaranteed contracts was on the owners payroll, and the union head that went along with that got duped, and duped his players as well. The players are still losing because every player essentially has only a 1 year contract, no matter who he is.

  22. sixjak says: Jan 30, 2013 1:14 PM

    Well said Ed. Seau family, you tarnish Junior’s NFL legacy with your low brow lawsuit. The gravy train has come to the end of the line. Accept it, get a job, any job and honor your deceased loved one’s legacy with hard work and gratitude.

  23. j0esixpack says: Jan 30, 2013 1:20 PM

    C’mon Ed.

    I know what you’re saying, but Seau was not of sound mind, thanks in significant degree to the damage of a lifetime (not just NFL) of football concussions.

    Had he been able to think straight he would still be here today.

    Don’t suggest he has no regrets about an irrational decision that left his children with no father.

  24. pierrepoint1 says: Jan 30, 2013 1:24 PM

    It’s the employer’s responsibility to provide a safe workplace, and allowing injured players to play, or hiding the long term affects of the game makes the responsible.

    Why do you they are fining and suspending players? The NFL is scared to death of future lawsuits concerning player’s health after years of playing.

    Just as an employer cannot force you to work in a cancerous environment even with your consent, the NFL cannot have a work place where the league and teams encourage players to injure one another.

    The lawsuits for former players are going to ruin the league. You have players who were not informed of the seriousness of their injuries or the long term affects and the league will end up paying BILLIONS of dollars in compensation.

  25. randomcommenter says: Jan 30, 2013 1:29 PM

    Concussions didn’t just appear last year. It was always known concussions were bad but it was only in recent years that more evidence showed they were worse than previously believed.

    But the point is, from the day football was invented, every person who stepped on the field knew they were doing something dangerous.

    The old players who didnt make tons of money and were tossed aside by the NFL, have a case. The current or recently retired players do not.

    It’s very easy for Kurt Warner to say he doesn’t want his kids playing because they will grow up with money and options where they don’t have to take any risks.

    Would Kurt himself choose to keep stocking shelves instead of playing in the NFL even if you flat out told him he’d die at say age 55?

  26. rockthered1286 says: Jan 30, 2013 1:38 PM

    “Reed’s comments are a pretty good argument against that view.”
    ___________________________
    No they’re not. Not even close. BP argued that there will be no league if the league continues to turn the game into flag football. Reed is saying as long as people are willing to put their body on the line, they will. BP’s arguement is based around the league continuing to turn this league into sarcasti-ball (someone will get that reference), not continuing on the current course of hard-nosed football, like Reed’s argument is based around.

    But thanks for trying.

  27. itsfootballbaby says: Jan 30, 2013 1:52 PM

    I think Roddy White made similar comments at the beginning of the season. It’s good to see players being honest about the fact that they know what they’re getting into and would do it regardless.

  28. devildog911 says: Jan 30, 2013 2:04 PM

    I am tired of all these lawsuits against the NFL. Being in the military, I know going to war and the possibility of getting killed is something I signed up for. It was my choice.Football is a rough sport and players get paid big to play and they get hurt but that’s the choice they make when they sign that contract. People watch because of the intensity of this sport and I pay big to watch it. If these players complain about concussions, heck, go play another non-contact sport like golf.

  29. doulos31 says: Jan 30, 2013 2:05 PM

    The “unpopular” commenters are right. The owners of a workplace are responsible for talking all reasonable steps to provide a safe working environment for their employees. Yes, there are still dangerous jobs where employees tend to earn more money in exchange for their assumption of risk, but the employer STILL has a legal (and moral) duty to take all reasonable steps to mitigate risks to the highest degree practicable.

    There are a number of improvements that have been made that are right in step with those principles. Concussions are taken more seriously. Players are less likely to return prematurely. That’s all good. I’m sure there are more things that can be done (improvement in equipment/padding, etc.).

    Deciding how much to change the rules (and in some ways change the sport) is a tricky issue. It would be interesting to hear from someone who actually has a legal perspective on these issues to weigh in on that issue.

  30. worldsgreatest says: Jan 30, 2013 3:42 PM

    poridge1214 says:
    Jan 30, 2013 1:06 PM

    You have flawed logic here, and it’s a false equivalency. Getting killed on the job isn’t the same as dying from the effects of the job years later. A true equivalency would be a coal miner dying in a mine, and a player dying from the collapse of a stadium. Or, a player dying years down the line from brain disease, and a coal miner dying years later from inhaling toxic dust. Your argument was stupid.

    ———————————————–

    Is it even possible to have a discussion on the internet without being insulting? Let’s try.

    I disagree with you. If your problem with my argument is one of equivalency then your rebuttal is a straw man.

    Equivalency has no bearing on improving working conditions. Your only argument seems to be on the validity of the profession vs. workplace safety.

    All professions deserve, and should expect to see , improvements the security offered them by employers irregardless of if they agree with it or not.

    But lets take your rebut and extend equivalency:

    If it were the military then the government should require more effective armor and weapons. If its a police officer the state should require more body armor and more officers in dangerous environments.

    Who can argue against any improvement in workplace safety based solely on the nature of their job? Not me. I am not qualified. But in my opinion, whether it is of your own volition or not, regardless of what your employ is, improvements in safety and workplace security is paramount.

    So, yeah. These players should suck it up and change with the times. I personally enjoy the NFL MORE now not having to see vicious knockout shots.

    I watch it for coaching, talent, and strategy. Not who’s more ‘manly’.

  31. nickster31 says: Jan 30, 2013 4:10 PM

    In 1982, I was 10 years old. I wanted to play football, but my mom would not let me because, and I quote, “it would scramble my brains”.

    My mom was a house wife, and married to a cop. It was not like she had any medical training, at all, and she understood then that playing football could “scramble my brain”.

    PLEASE don’t tell me that these professionals don’t know the risk they are taking when they play. Not now, not then, and not between.

    It is called personal responsibility. Like not suing McDonalds when you pour hot coffee on your lap because you didn’t know it was going to be that hot.

    What the NFL needs to do is have EVERY player sign a waiver when they submit their name to the NFL Draft that they understand the risks involved with playing in the NFL. You could break your neck, back, knees and even scramble your brain if you decide to play football, and by entering the NFL Draft, you waive all rights to sue. If they don’t sign, they can’t enter the draft.

  32. fdugrad says: Jan 30, 2013 7:59 PM

    I am not certain that players from JR’s era actually DID “understand what they were signing up for,” as it pertains to concussions. Twenty years ago, which is about when JR began his pro career, and years and decades prior to this rough period of time, I believe the players realized that their bodies would pay the price ( see Jim Otto ) joint, spine, shoulder-wise, etc., however, the traumatic brain damage, CTE, etc., were not areas of emphasis, at least as I remember. Gnarled hands, legs and faces, as well as the other mentioned injuries, yes. These horrid brain deterioration situations that we are dealing with in the recent years, were not typically front and center as part of “the deal,” as I recall.

  33. chi01town says: Feb 1, 2013 1:25 PM

    ED REED is 100% right. when a player signs his first contract he knows two things.
    1. the player knows he is rich
    2. the player knows he will get hurt.
    now the ONLY question is HOW RICH CAN HE GET BEFORE HE GETS HURT TO BAD. and thats real

  34. chargergirl619 says: Feb 8, 2013 3:02 PM

    People need to stop blaming Junior for what his family is doing. The NFL should share some of the blame because it should require mandatory MRI’s for its players. If this were in place, something could have been caught earlier and treated properly.

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