Jamal Adams, Morris Claiborne willing to “die” on football field


Jets players may not be willing to tank the season, but two of them say they are willing to kick the bucket.

In separate contexts, safety Jamal Adams and cornerback Morris Claiborne expressed on Monday a willingness to die on the football field, if it came to it.

Speaking at a fan forum in response to a question regarding Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy, Adams was blunt and unequivocal. “If I had a perfect place to die, I would die on the field,” he said, via Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.

Claiborne expressed a similar sentiment in remarks to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.

“A lot of people don’t believe me when I say this,” Claiborne said. “But I would die out there on that football field. This is my life. This is what I do. I give it all. I would die out there. . . . If I was concussed that bad where they said you can’t go back out there or you’ll potentially lose your life, I gotta go. I gotta go play. I gotta go play.”

Commissioner Roger Goodell, who was present for Adams’ remarks, downplayed them.

“I think what he was really making a point of is how much he loves the game and how passionate he is about the game, that he loves playing it and it just something that means a great deal to him,” Goodell said, per Vacchiano. “I get the emotion of that. I think our fans understood the emotions of what he was saying, which is ‘We love the game.’ I don’t think anyone took it directly.”

Given that an awkward round of applause emerged after Adams said what he said, I think maybe people did take it directly. And they approve of the gladiator mentality that has been part of the game for decades.

Many will disagree with the comments and the reaction to them, but the fact remains that no one can now say NFL players don’t know the risks. If Adams and Claiborne and any other players wish to not only assume but embrace those risks, that’s their right. It’s no different than the entire range of risks assumed/embraced in other activities, from riding a motorcycle to jumping from an airplane with a chute that may or may not open to engaging in mixed-martial arts combat, which routinely results in multiple concussions being delivered and sustained in a compressed period of time, and no one in the national media ever says “boo” about it.

Yes, the NFL is trying to make football as safe as possible. All risks will never be fully eliminated without changing the nature of the game. At some point, the safety measures could sufficiently alter the nature of the game to create an opening for a new league that embraces the same risks that players like Adams, Claiborne, and many others willingly embrace all the time.

29 responses to “Jamal Adams, Morris Claiborne willing to “die” on football field

  1. I don’t really have a comment on this other than the fact that I don’t want either of those dudes to die playing a game that I love.

  2. I’m not moved one way or the other by their comments. You can also die commuting to/from an office job, with all the stupid idiots that won’t watch the road because their faces are buried in their phones. Every human activity has risks, and all we can do is make our best efforts to mitigate them.

  3. When they’re brains are mashed potatoes they’ll be sorry. There’s a lot of life left to enjoy after football.

  4. Great point about players knowing the risks regarding their decisions … It also applies to your boy, Kaep, too.

  5. As they should! Football is our modern-day gladiatorial contest! CTE, shmeetee.. they know what they’re getting into when they sign up. Play ball!

  6. If that should ever happen…which I hope to God it never does…we would know that they died doing what they loved.

  7. Everything in life has an Opportunity Cost. This means that by freely choosing to play football these men are receiving a free college education. However, it may be more difficult to excel in the classroom when they are expected to excel on the field (compared to a non student athlete of course). Think about it state schools cost 10-20k a year while out of state or private schools can be 40-60k a year. This means that a 4 year bachelor’s degree will cost 40-240k. (Room and Board doubles the cost of a degree for most schools Room and Board is double the cost of tuition.)
    Likewise if they are talented enough to make it in the nfl they have the opportunity to earn a bare minimum of 465k a year. The median income in the USA is only 56k a year. A college degree averages 70k a year. In contrast, a practice squad player makes $6900 a week or $117300 over the regular season. So yes these players know they can suffer severe and potentially life altering injuries. However, they also realize they can make significantly more money playing in the nfl than by having a conventional job. So the question is really would you rather be rich and risk injury or be an average joe with no injury risk?

  8. If they feel that way then good for them as it’s their life and they can view things however they want to.

    Note that neither guy says they want to go and die soon while playing or that they plan to.

  9. No big deal. When I was young I wouldn’t have minded dying on a basketball court. Now, the golf course. Unless I’m having a good round then it would have to be the 19th hole.

  10. They play a violent game that has a lifetime of pain and consequences as a result.

    We’re they being dramatic for effect….of course.

    We’re they serious about what they said…I believe they were.

    Carry on, young men.

    “Bones heal,
    chicks dig scars,
    pain is temporary,
    glory is forever.”


  11. If I die of something besides old age I want it to be doing something that I love, strafeing a canyon on my sportbike. Hopefully I leave a smear mark visible from the space station. Yeah!

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