Jordan Cameron: A lot of us in the NFL don’t love football

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Former Browns and Dolphins tight end Jordan Cameron retired from the NFL at age 28 last week after suffering the fourth concussion of his career last season. He doesn’t sound like he’ll miss it.

Cameron said that contrary to what some fans might think, he and his fellow NFL players didn’t necessarily love the game.

“I don’t think a lot of these guys love football, to be honest,” Cameron told ESPN. “A lot of them don’t. You play for other reasons, and every guy has their own reason. They know why, and as long as your why is really important, you keep playing without really loving football. Because really, who loves to get hit in 10-degree weather by a 280-pound person? Really, no one likes that. ‘Do you love football?’ I couldn’t stand when people asked me that.”

Cameron said the players who are truly passionate about the game are a minority.

“Do you really love football?” he said. “A lot of guys don’t really love it. There’s a few guys that love it. Ray Lewis loves football. Peyton Manning. They love it. But a lot of guys don’t really love this game, and there are players that will read this who will understand exactly what I’m talking about.”

Now that Cameron has made around $20 million in the NFL, he’s pleased to get out and move on with his life, perhaps finding something that he does love to do.

94 responses to “Jordan Cameron: A lot of us in the NFL don’t love football

  1. Funny, I guess if he were a great player like the ones he mentioned (Ray Lewis & Peyton Manning) he would have loved the game.

    Losing Cameron to retirement is no big loss.

  2. 8 receptions for 60 yards last year with the Fins, but you loved cashing all 16 game checks tho, didn’t hear you complaining then

  3. Says the guy who didn’t start playing until part way through college if memory serves correctly. My guess is the guys who played the game more enjoy it more.

  4. There is no job I didn’t love doing I would have sustained 4 concussions doing.

    Consider the idea of losing your SELF at early middle age to 55- or 60.

    I am 67 I love watching football (of course I live in NE) and I recognize that there are a lot of folks in any field who do jobs they don’t love, but they are not burdened by measurable odds of physical harm, some of which is permanent every day they work.

    $20m is a LOT of money, but not enough to become damaged, and potentially unable to care for yourself, lose your personality, and end up being cared for by family.

    So let’s recognize there are folks like Cameron, who may not be Gronkowskis of talent, but are PROFESSIONAL and able to make mature decisions.

  5. He’s absolutely right. I’ve been friends with a few guys who have played a bit in the NFL that were alums of my high school and they know.

    The money, the lifestyle, the fame, the women, the desire to support their family, the desire to leave a legacy…there are a lot of reasons, and simple love of football is far from the top in a lot of cases.

  6. He’s right. Ever look at the guys after the game? You’ll see a lot of them laughing and smiling after a loss. It’s a paycheck. Don’t forget that.

    Just cuz you are fanatical and live and die by your team winning….In the end they don’t care about you and that’s why I laugh at the grown men who wear some other guys jersey and love a guy cuz he can play football.

    They’re a bunch of pawns who entertain me. Just like an actor, or musician. I could care less about any of them as actual people.

    Have a nice day!

  7. Wow…a lot of fans acting so hurt and attacking Cameron like someone just told them Santa Clause isn’t real. He really didn’t say anything new.

  8. epaminondas says:

    $20m is a LOT of money, but not enough to become damaged

    Hell yeah it is.

  9. Fan post are funny. I’m sure everyone here just loves going to their 9-5 everyday. If my job paid me a quick $20 million I may possibly quit and go find something I want to do as well, and so would all of you. Most would keep trying to earn those checks to build up a bit more but hey to each their own.

  10. “I was cold in January and big guys tried to hit me.”

    I’m 30, don’t love my job, and will still be paying student loans for nearly a decade.

    Poor guy would be suicidal in my life.

  11. This shouldn’t really be a surprise to anyone. Bill Belichick routinely says that he looks for players who love football. That statement inherently means there are plenty who don’t, and I’m sure other coaches do the same.

  12. Because really, who loves to get hit in 10-degree weather by a 280-pound person?


    That about sums it up for most!

  13. Yeah, not everyone loves their job. Shocking. I wish him luck finding something better but I doubt he will miss this awesome paying job very soon.

  14. He played on the Browns of course his peers didn’t love the game. Their play is proof.

  15. It’s strange how they got so far into the sport in the first place. I can understand wanting to leave bc of health issues or worries, but it makes me wonder why some didn’t just go out for another sport like baseball or basketball. Much more money in it.

  16. $20m is a LOT of money, but not enough to become damaged, and potentially unable to care for yourself, lose your personality, and end up being cared for by family

    FYI, the same can happen to Po’ folk as well.

  17. Players are like anyone else. How many people do you know who actually love their job?……not many.

  18. The same goes for fans. The players might think all the fans love football. Yes, the people who post on PFT probably do, but a lot of fans just watch football for an opportunity to gamble or drink. Some just like to wear team gear and it might make them feel more macho or whatever. Some watch because of peer pressure.

  19. Well duh. Anyone who watches the NFL knows this, and it’s a big reason the overall fundamental quality of the game is in decline despite its participants being bigger and more physically talented than ever before.

    But in what other profession is a kid who may not have even finished college with a degree, walk into a job that pays more in one year than many of us on this board make in 4 o 5? And that’s just by being good enough to make a roster. After having had 3 or 4 years of college education, room and board paid free and clear.

    Sure beats trying to pay off $100K of student loans with a $40K a year office job which is where a lot of college grads today are starting out.

  20. For a lot of guys it is a business. Nothing wrong with that. It sounds like Cameron was just saying the truth.

    These guys get all kinds of banged up playing in the league.

    It is a business for a lot of them.

    It’s a business for the owners and the league, and they treat the players like disposable products, so the fact that the players need to treat it as a business should not surprise anyone.

  21. He’s right of course. There are millions of people who get up and go to work for a lot of good reasons who don’t live there job.

  22. With the money being paid to average players his analysis is probably accurate and well founded. How many players disappear after their free agency pay day? Time and again it is proven a team can’t be bought.

  23. Going to read a lot of angry comments on here, but I can’t really get upset with him. I don’t love my job either. If I had the ability to make 20 million dollars doing what Cameron did I would do it even if I didn’t love it. While you’d like the players on your team to be passionate, it’s easy to relate knowing that some people just do it for the paycheck.

  24. Even hall of famers don’t like the game. Curtis Martin’s hall of fame speech highlighted that fact. You don’t have to love the game to be a great player. A lot of people are just in it for the money, because the reality is that it is a huge sacrifice to your physical health.

  25. Being competitive and then having to play in Cleveland & Miami sucked the life out of him. Sometimes winning is everything to certain people. Goodluck your riches. I’m sure he’ll hate retirement soon enough too.

  26. I love what I do for a living. I work in computer software and what started out as a hobby over 35 years ago has earned me a decent living over the past 30 years. No concussions to speak of, but occasional stress and one or two burn-out events in the past, but nothing long-term or detrimental to my brain or body.

    I love football and I’ve been watching and following it since my early teens, when it began to make sense and there was more than just big men hitting each other, while wearing helmets. Interestingly enough, about 20 years ago my mother got me interested in College Football, which I enjoy even more than the pros. Now, I understand the lure of money, fame, glory and all the other things that come with pro-football. However, we’ve known about concussions, physical and emotional problems that come with a violent, contact sport like football. Only boxing is more brutal – remember Muhammad Ali and his parkinson’s disease? Yeah, too many punches to the head early in his career.

    So, I understand that maybe all football players don’t love football, unless they are Peyton Manning or Ray Lewis, but the costs are known up front. Love of the game is what makes players great and it’s not about the money. Ray Lewis is down in Miami watching his son play at our Alma Mater. It’s all about the U, baby. Go Canes.

  27. In an age of lies the person telling the truth will always be attacked by the corrupt Establishment.

    Football is a brutal and dangerous game that hurts to play. Respect to him for his honesty.

  28. He loves quitting! All the clocks in his house are permanently set to five o’clock!

  29. For all of the guys on here knocking him, it’s pretty honest. Combine his statements with the concussions, and he’s making a wise decision. These things are always individual conclusions that each player has to come to.

    Wes Welker would play until they scraped him off of the field with a spatula if anyone would let him. It’s just a different mentality. It doesn’t make anyone right of wrong.

  30. “Sure beats trying to pay off 100K in student loans”.

    No one, especially Cameron, forced you to incur that debt. Go to a cheaper school, work for a while and save some money, work for one of the many companies that have work study programs (for example, UPS package handlers can graduate debt free from U of L).

  31. charliework says:
    Mar 13, 2017 5:54 AM
    I hope he loves spreadsheets and cubicles and $50k a year.


    Unless he’s been completely irresponsible managing his money, not sure I see a guy who’s sitting on $20 million retiring from the NFL so he can grind it out in a 9-to-5 office job plucking away at Excel formulas the rest of his life.

  32. Ask Junior Seau`s family if it was worth it. You might get a different perspective. Too many gas bags on here with no critical thinking skills or the ability to see things from both sides. Continuing to play for the paycheck would have been mercenary, he chose to walk away.

  33. 8 receptions for 60 yards last year with the Fins, but you loved cashing all 16 game checks tho, didn’t hear you complaining then

    That’s what he’s saying. Fans really can’t read between the lines?

  34. “Because really, who loves to get hit in 10-degree weather by a 280-pound person?”

    People who love playing football, and there’s lots of them.

    Thank God.

  35. They know the risks!!!! Don’t play and don’t cash that check then! Go work at McDonald’s!

  36. It’s great to get a player’s opinion. I agree.

    These fans riding this guy are truly fanatical…total devotion to a team playing a child’s game that is literally taking years off of the lives of the players. That’s sick.

    Why he should feel privileged to have his brain destroyed and body damaged. Right? He’s getting paid and money is the end all be all of life.


  37. flipola says:
    Mar 13, 2017 6:43 AM
    It’s strange how they got so far into the sport in the first place. I can understand wanting to leave bc of health issues or worries, but it makes me wonder why some didn’t just go out for another sport like baseball or basketball. Much more money in it.


    Just because a guy is good at catching a football and blocking doesn’t mean he can hit a fastball, drain a 3 pointer, or turn a double-play.

  38. I think that the folks on here who are bashing Cameron probably look at football the way that most fans do, as a game that they may have played as a kid, and loved. But it’s not just a game to NFL players, it’s a profession, and I’m sure you’ll find a range of feelings among the players about that profession, just as you’ll find other folks who love or hate what they do (which isn’t the same, btw, as loving or hating their pay for what they do).

    I played basketball as a kid, and in high school and college, and as I advanced to higher levels of competition, the less fun the game became. I’m not surprised that some pro football players would feel the same way, nor do I hold it against them.

  39. I would say some teams have a higher concentration of players that love the game than others. I would also suspect that the former type of teams tend to win more games.

  40. Tell him the key to happiness is to give back all that money, and then pursue a vocation which he loves…then get a calendar and time how long it takes him to do that…

  41. Being good at your job and loving your job are two entirely different things. Pay me $20m for six years in a job that I’m good at but don’t love and you can count me in…he has the rest of his life and the freedom to now do what he WANTS. I appreciate his honesty and count him lucky…

  42. Hey Cameron, you have your $20 million because of fans who love the game. If it weren’t for the fans you would’ve never had a job in the NFL because there would be no NFL.

  43. I’m sure he’s right. Unless you’re at the top of the food chain making a ton of cash both on and off the field, its probably difficult to love playing football.

  44. Amazing, guy tells the truth and people think less of him… If a fan’s enjoyment of the game is predicated on the belief that the players care passionately about the sport and/or the fans, well, thats sad.

  45. This is why I laugh whenever I hear a fan or analyst stating that Free Agent A should go somewhere he can “win” instead of whomever offers the most money.

    Just look at the comments from last week when Calais Campbell signed with Jax over Denver. Jax offered $2M/yr more, yet fans on this site were criticizing him for taking the money instead of going to the place that gave him a (possible) better chance to win.

    LOL like you would stay at your current employer when the competitor is offering you $2m/year more.

  46. Football has become a vicious insanity played by violent fools for a few dollars more. Pro basketball can only be played by the most strongest, aggressive and violent. Every year these sports are showing an increase in serious injuries. Concussions also have long term effects and Cameron could still end up being a vegetable.

  47. ikeclanton says:
    Mar 13, 2017 8:29 AM

    Wes Welker would play until they scraped him off of the field with a spatula


    I think that actually happened didn’t it?

  48. Cameron could be a model in his 2nd career. I will say this, that dude was a fluid route runner and natural pass catcher. He could have been HOF if Norv Turner was his OC for life

  49. I think its closer to the truth to say that he loved it at one point. But as the physical damage piled up on him (and is one for whom it has) the cons have come to outweigh the pros and the joy has waned. Many of us change our minds in life as circumstances change, he is no exception and its his right. I hope he does find his joy going forward. One thing he has going is that the amount he made, if he has managed it well, is more than enough to carry him through life that he could devide he loves bass fishing or playing jazz (my own preference that pays zip) or whatever. Basically he has been spotted more than many of us make in our lifetimes so the situation is quite workable.

  50. Watching him play it was clear that he did not love the game. He did not even like the game. He liked the paychecks. He gave nothing to the game. He took millions. Guys like this will kill the game.

  51. How many people are working, and here, because they don’t like their job. Biggest challenge in life for a human is pursuing a career (and sticking with it)( despite others trying to stop you)) in something you love and succeeding at it.

  52. He is speaking the truth. I loved football when I was in high school. I played it in college. If I had been good enough I would have tried to play in the NFL. But not because I loved it anymore. At that point waking up every day all season feeling sore like an old man stopped being enjoyable. I remember my senior year looking forward to not always nursing aches and pains and wondering how it would feel to just feel good again. The game takes a a real toll on your body, and for some guys, your mind. The higher the level, the higher the toll.

  53. I agree with the Comment and he is right and entitled to his opinion, but how about this…. is it a coicidence that he went to IR and the Dolphins had a winning season WITHOUT him? As a Coach for over 17 years- Attitude is Everything!

  54. alonestartexan says:
    Mar 13, 2017 5:53 AM
    Funny, I guess if he were a great player like the ones he mentioned (Ray Lewis & Peyton Manning) he would have loved the game.

    I think it’s the other way around. They were great instead of merely good BECAUSE of their love of the game.

  55. Made $20 million and only had 1 good season. Looks like he needs to give teams a refund.

  56. I get the feeling that he did love playing and what you are hearing is his unspoken disappointment in having to leave the game. It’s his way of justifying a decision he had to make but deep inside did not want to make. As good as he was under Norm Turner and then it went south on him. Of course, I don’t know if what I am saying is true but the intuition keeps bringing this up in my head; hope I don’t get a concussion from that (grin)?

  57. I can only assume it’s like every other job and company these days, where the joy is steadily bled out of everything by greed and the desire to squeeze a dime out of every available corner of everything, putting that far ahead of the human side of the equation.

    We’ve gone from money and the pursuit of it being the engine for creating good things for humanity to money being the sole reason anything and everyone exists.

    We can all see it. It’s going to kill us.

  58. The snowflakes here who hammer him for this comment are sad. He manned up and said exactly what he thought. He was honest. You shrinking violets here who think that talking tough actually makes a man could learn a thing or two. But you won’t.

  59. No matter how much money is thrown at you, a job that requires the constant dedication, and risks, and pressure to succeed like the nfl is just not going to be fun for everyone.

    I don’t see how anyone can be surprised by that, much less offended. This guy is “just telling it like it is”

  60. Guy might have told the truth, but yeah, this is different than saying you hate your 9-5. You need your 9-5. They had the option of playing football. There are plenty of people who would do their job for less money who do love football. That’s why people are ticked. Not the suggestion that players don’t love it, they know that. They’re ticked because of the lack of gratitude for doing something that they or others would gladly do for much less.

    And I’ll just say that I’m not shocked in the slightest that Jordan Cameron does not love football.

  61. this is why the key is finding the guys who DO love it. I agree with Cameron – it’s probably not a high percentage.

    Dolphins – please extend Jarvis Landry’s contract. guys like him are rare.

  62. Breaking News: Guy who played football only because he couldn’t get into the NBA didn’t love football (or did we all forget he was a basketball player that had to be convinced to try football in college).

    Pretty sure he’s wrong about the majority of players not loving it considering the number of guys who either A. refuse to leave it unless forced, B. continue to participate in it in other forms after that and C. encourage their kids into the sport says most players not only love it but are quite obsessed with it.

  63. NFL players not liking playing football couldn’t be because all NFL players know the league is actually more like the WWE, could it?

  64. Explains his garbage play while a dolphin. Got paid then did nothing, always had a “concussion”, if we can even believe that now.

  65. “I hope he loves spreadsheets and cubicles and $50k a year.”

    He could sit on his $20 million and get more than that a year.

  66. No mystery here. He’s set for life and getting out while he has all his marbles and can walk without a limp. Smart guy, not greedy!

  67. I played HS, College(D2) and Semi-Pro. Which in actually is a low committment level but competitive. As a backup college quarterback it can become tough to love the game when you do not play and are not the chosen one even when you believe you are probably better than starter (based on tape) and it can destroy the joy and love for the game. Jordan Cameron just was stricken with bad luck but remember he played basketball first at SC/BYU

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