Former Atlanta Falcons safety Erik Coleman isn't a particularly large guy, at least by NFL standards. But he made up for his lack of size by hitting hard, playing smart, and leading his teammates on and off the field. The Falcons made good use of him for his three years in Atlanta. He'd go on to play one more year with the Detroit Lions before retiring in 2012. And now, with his playing career in the rearview mirror, he has time to reflect.
The so-called "concussion debate" is ongoing. It's something that's already had a dramatic impact on the sport. Going forward, it will continue to affect how the game is played, governed, and perceived. For Coleman, it's just scary.
"I pray that CTE isn't something that creeps into my life. I pray that I stay healthy. And I pray that all of my brothers who played in this league stay healthy," Coleman said in a phone interview with Jets Wire.
"It's scary. It's scary to see former teammates, people I've played in this league with, having all of these problems down the line," Coleman said. "I'm glad light has been shed on me because now, everyone knows about it, and I can go talk about it, get some help, see help. I know now I'm not going crazy. I'm not the only one going through this."
I definitely get where he is coming from. His perspective is interesting for several reasons. First, he's a former Atlanta Falcon. Second, he didn't play that long ago. (Those two considerations make this a little more ... real.) Third, it's interesting that he has mixed emotions. On the one hand, football helped him avoid a life on the streets. He'd also let his son play the game. On the other hand, the looming possibility that he could develop CTE scares the heck out of him.
Like I said, it's just an interesting perspective, especially because it comes from a recent, now-retired Falcon. Your thoughts?