NFL nudges Dr. Eliott Pellman into retirement, will hire new top doc

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On the same day a poll showed that 85 percent of people connect football and CTE, the NFL got rid of a guy who denied a link between the game and the damage of head injuries for many years.

According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, the NFL is replacing Dr. Eliott Pellman, and will hire a new doctor to replace him.

And this apparently wasn’t a routine retirement for Pellman, who was former commissioner Paul Tagliabue’s former personal physician. Current commissioner Roger Goodell apparently asked Pellman to step aside and he agreed, clearly away someone who has been a lightning rod during the league’s concussion crisis.

Pellman, a rheumatologist by trade, chaired the league’s mild traumatic brain injury committee, a euphemism for concussions which many felt underscored the league’s stance on head injuries. He routinely downplayed the link between football and head injuries, and the league could no longer afford that.

In addition to the obvious health problem, the league has a significant P.R. issue as it pertains to concussions and the long-term health of players who suffer them. And while taking Pellman off the roster can’t fix the first problem, it can’t hurt the second.