Westbrook's concussion fears could end his career

HBO’s Joe Buck Live has adopted a different format of late.

Gone are the awkward (but entertaining) moments between Buck and renegade guests like Artie Lange.  Instead, the show is featuring actual sports conversations, which generate news unrelated to the question of whether Buck is hopelessly out of his element.

On Tuesday night, Eagles running back Brian Westbrook joined Buck to discuss Westbrook’s recent experiences with concussions.

I’m worried about it,” Westbrook told Buck, via Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer.  “Concussions have been all
over the headlines and all over the papers, and it has been on the top
of my mind since the Redskins game on the 26th of October.”

On that night in Washington, Westbrook was knocked out, thanks to a hit from Redskins linebacker Brian Westbrook London Fletcher.

“I’m very concerned just because there is not a lot of data that
says in 10 years or 20 years you’ll be fine if you had too many
concussions,” Westbrook said.  “I’m worried about that, and, hopefully, next
time I go out there I don’t have to worry about it anymore.

But we’re not sure there will be a next time, even if Westbrook wants one.  He has become the de facto face of the current concussion problem, and given his age and declining skills and history of injuries below the neck we think that he could be nudged out of the game after the 2009 season.

Really, which team will take the risk that comes with having Westbrook on the field?  He occupies one of the more fungible positions in the sport, where players on the wrong side of 30 already are regarded as part of the rocking-chair and Flomax demographic.  With Westbrook openly discussing his fears, it will be difficult for a team to embrace him as a player — especially since his presence in the locker room could cause those fears to spread to his teammates. 

That said, the Eagles might be able to bring him back for sentimental reasons, but in a reduced role and at a reduced salary, like Jerome Bettis in his last season or two with the Steelers.

But it’s also arguably not in the overall interests of the league for Westbrook to play again.  Another serious concussion could counter many of the changes that the league recently has made to keep Congress out of the NFL’s backyard.

As we explained several weeks ago at SportingNews.com, this is one of the very real dynamics of the new sensitivity to concussions.  Players who develop concussions problems will be forced out of the game prematurely, especially if they are not regarded as star players or if they are once great players now on the down side of a career.

24 responses to “Westbrook's concussion fears could end his career

  1. its a good thing the league wouldnt suspend cb joselio hanson for a diuretic when the williams’ case in minnesota still pends!!!!!!! jesus all i ask is for fair. they all took a diuretic, i want a 0 tolereance policy as well but no matter your stance on diuretics you have to admit its fckn unfair for one player to be supended while many players in new orleans and minnesota cannot be suspended

  2. He’s had 2.
    He’ll be back in a couple of weeks, if he gets another then yeah he’s done, at least for the season. For now though.. bit of an overreaction.

  3. The most amazing thing to me is that he also plays linebacker for the Redskins and managed to knock himself out. I guess that’s his fallback if he gets nudged off of the Eagles.

  4. A few years ago, this would have been a very bad thing for the Eagles. But now McCoy and Weaver and the WRs are able to pick up the slack. Although McCoy did struggle this week.

  5. Frankly I am tired of listening to the, “we dont know this will affect me in 10 or 20 years”. What about the oil rig workers exposed to oil/gas, coal miners, doctors, nurses, carpenters, landscapers, etc. who don’t know how their on the job exposures will affect them? This is just a bunch of winey little football guys who want to collect their insurance money and kick back and retire at 28.

  6. Maybe Lord Florio could learn from Joe Buck. Stick to news and not rumors and lame attempts to create controversy’s!

  7. $1000 to the charity of choice for the player that gives Vick a concussion.
    Feel bad about Westbrook, usually most exciting player on the field when he is healthy. Just has issues trying to stay healthy.

  8. Twiz Says:
    “Maybe Lord Florio could learn from Joe Buck. Stick to news and not rumors and lame attempts to create controversy’s!”
    This is a news AND rumors page. That’s why it says “Latest news and rumors” at the top.
    And it’s “controversies,” typopotomus.

  9. “He has become the de facto face of the current concussion problem, and given his age and declining skills and history of injuries below the neck we think that he could be nudged out of the game after the 2009 season.”
    Just because you say it over and over doesn’t mean it will become a fact. It’s not his skills that have declined, Cornflorio. I’ve posted stats (facts) to back that up. Injuries are the only factor that are effecting his play. I may be splitting hairs to you, but for the love of all that is holy, stop w/the “declining skills” talk.

  10. I think people forget that they r playing football concusions happen get back in there…lombardi would roll in his grave to see this pansey concussion deal

  11. I am absolutely amazed at the insensitivity of all the posts. I wonder how many of you are exposed to this much injury every time you go to work? It must be easy saying what THEY should do having never been anywhere near their shoes.

  12. Say what?
    On that same show live last night Westbrook said he would probably practice TODAY WEDNESDAY and prepare and acted very much like he would play on Sunday vs. the Giants.

  13. ask a Skins fan I am glad to see him on the sidelines and out of the game.
    as a man and human being I wish him a full recovery and no side effects later in life.
    If this is the end of 36’s career then I will say that he was a hell of a player and it was a pleasure watching him do his thing.
    If it isn’t then I hate you and I hope we break you next season!!

  14. I hope he makes the righ tdecision, and ends his career on a high note.
    He’s doen tons, and is a likel ycanidate for the HOF.
    He’s set of lif efinancially, move on.

  15. Reginald – you homo…
    These players get paid MILLIONS to sacrifice their bodies for the sport – I repeat PAID MILLIONS… If I didn’t have to worry about getting split in two by the likes of a Ray Lewis, I’d be out there catching footballs myself…
    The risk is equal to the reward – if not, get the hell out of the game.

  16. this story is about his “fears” ending his career, not his actual “concussion.” i’ve seen this guy will his team to victory by himself. for a while analyists/fans thought he was more important to the eagles success than mcnabb. why wouldn’t a guy like that be accepted in an nfl locker room/front office? even on the wrong side of 30 this is a guy you would want on your football team.

  17. “Players who develop concussions problems will be forced out of the game prematurely.” Clearly, Florio does not understand the issue. Maybe he will get it some day when he is hunched over in his seat at the McDonald’s drive-through, his last bit of McMegaFat still dripping from his lips, and someone else writes : “Florio was forced from the fastfood game prematurely.” Florio, please, just don’t spill the fat or vomit on the classic VW bus.
    I also think Florio routinely is hypocritical in taking swipes at journalists (like Buck, who i cannot stand either), and yet uses their hard-won material for his own stories. Great job, Florio. Let NFL players get their brains pulverized and steal from gay commentators. Super. What a man.

  18. This story is an example of the overreaction and inflammatory unfounded conjecture that irks me about this site. There’s not always a conspiracy…

  19. i think hes got MAYBE one year left in him after this season is over.. he’s had a good run.. and if he can be healthy for the playoffs this year ill be happy about that

  20. It’s interesting how you exclude his follow-up comments he made on the show… lame.
    Also, Joe Buck Live is still chock full of awkward moments. That guy is the fugliest, cockiest D-bag in the world.

  21. Why are so many fans trying to figure out why Florio keeps talking about this possibly ending Brian’s career? Isn’t it obvious that this is a very serious issue? I would hate to see Westy go out like this, but I would rather he go out semi-healthy then with the potential for side effects down the road. He may come back, but if he doesn’t, I can’t say that I blame him. Get off Florio’s back for reporting a sad reality that you don’t want to deal with.

  22. Declining skills thats a load of BS and you know it.
    Have you watched him play this year. He has played just as well as hes ever played when hes on the field.
    Yes you can say his ability to stay healthy has been declining. Which really isnt true because hes always had a problem staying healthy. But when hes actually on the field hes still one of the most explosive runningbacks in the league. Their is not a running back in the league better at catching the ball then Westbrook.
    Also when hes in the game he is still the player every other team sets their game plan around. Thats not a guess its a fact. Whenever the opposing team is asked about what they are planning to do they always say you have to account for Westbrook on every play and set your game plan around him.
    His running out of the backfield has been as good as 2 years ago but thats not on him. All of last year we had the Eagles had an old offensive line that couldnt get off the ball anymore and thats why they were replaced. Then in the beggining of this year the new line was still trying to get to know each other because of the training camp injuries and at the time the offensive guards were being used in a rotation. Which does not help a running back when the line doesnt know each other.
    Westbrook will be back either this week against the Giants or next week agains the 49ers. Wait until you see him play he will show everyone what he has left. He will be back next year with philly and if hes not on the team in 2011 he will be somewhere else. Print that.

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