Su’a Cravens pushes back against perception that he’s a quitter

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Broncos defensive back Su'a Cravens admits that he told teammates last year that he was retiring from football, but Cravens insists he’s not a quitter.

Cravens, traded to Denver from Washington this week, explained to Mike Klis of 9News.com that the lingering effects of a concussion influenced his actions and decisions during the 2017 season.

“I was going through some personal issues with my family and I didn’t feel like myself,’’ Cravens told Klis. “I did tell my teammates I was going to retire but I never officially retired.”

After a full medical evaluation, it became clear that Cravens was dealing with head trauma.

“The Redskins brought me in, they told me they wanted me to get checked out, make sure I was all right,” Cravens said. “I go to a doctor and he tells me I’m going through something I didn’t even know I was going through. He said this is the reason why you feel this way and you’re in no condition to be making these decisions because of this and I guarantee if you rehab and get yourself better, you won’t be feeling this way.

“Once I got cleared in December, it was like I was a completely different person. Looking back at myself I’m thinking, that’s crazy. I thought I was just messed up but come to find out, I was going through something I wasn’t even aware of.’’

His former team wasn’t willing to wait for Cravens to get healthy; Washington placed him on the reserve/left squad list before Cravens could return from a four-week leave. His new team wanted him, obviously. And Cravens is now preparing to make an impact on the Broncos defense; he says that he’ll play strong safety in the base package and linebacker in third-down packages.

Most importantly for Cravens, he insists he’ll be playing football in 2018 — despite the perception that he quit on Washington and a rumor that he quit while at USC.

“People have their own truths and can make their own decisions,’’ Cravens said. “There is a narrative that people have that I quit, I quit on my team, that I don’t love football – that is completely forged and wrong.

“Everybody has the right to make their own decision, but my truth, I never quit on my team, I never abandoned anybody. I don’t know where they’re coming from with ‘he quit at USC.’ I don’t know where that came from, that was made up. That’s a narrative that’s wrong.”

Still, Cravens seems to be acutely aware of the risks of football. For now, he’s willing to continue to accept them.

“Football is a violent sport and it can be scary but I know what I’m signing up for,’’ Cravens said. “I think we all do. I’m well aware of my situation and this is my decision to continue to play. I’m not going to second-guess my decision to go out there and play. I’m planning on making plays and being the same physical player I’ve always been and I’ll live with the consequences because this is my choice to do so. Every man, every woman, they have a choice they can make. This is my choice.’’

If he plays like he did in 2016, the Broncos will be happy he made that choice. But the possibility of another concussion — and possibly another decision to stop playing — will loom, especially if Cravens plays with the kind of physicality he intends to display.

13 responses to “Su’a Cravens pushes back against perception that he’s a quitter

  1. Actions speak louder than words, Su’a. The only way you’ll change the perception of you being a quitter is to play.

  2. There are 2 teams where the players said you quit. I don’t really recall the coaching staffs or front offices saying much about it.

    No matter what you are saying the perception(s) that your team mates have and put out there are what they are. Perception is reality, so instead of just saying they are forged and wrong you need to prove that.

    Regarding the Skins not being willing to wait, how much were they actually privy to? Why should they hold a slot when there was no timetable for a return nor was there any actual diagnosis. Cravens even now is saying something he had to deal with, not an actual ailment. What if it was depression, does that even count as something you can put someone on IR with? Maybe the team did him a favor.

  3. The name of the team is the Redskins. Like the Red Mesa High Redskins, located on a Navajo reservation.

  4. He got concussed so hard he had to wear glasses. I have a hard time criticising anyone for questioning their playing career after that, to me that’s not someone who’s a quitter, that’s someone who took the steps necessary for their own safety.

    People love to jump on players for the slightest thing, the guy is in his early twenties for crying out loud I don’t blame him for reconsidering in the slightest. Trying to decide what’s best for you isn’t being a quitter, you have to put yourself first.

  5. If Cravens head trauma was so severe that he didn’t feel like himself, needed glasses as a result and quit on his team, why was he traded and why is the NFL allowing him to continue playing?

    Teams won’t trade a guys that are rehabbing from ACL, PCL or Achilles tears but they’ll trade for a guy that had his brain seriously concussed?

    That doesn’t make any sense.

  6. Thank you, Su’a for your side of the story. I think you are worthy of a testimony since YOU were the one it happened to.

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