At a time when one extremely talented pass catcher is talking retirement because he’s a headcase, one here in Washington might be forced to because of the case of his head.
There’s no debate that Jordan Reed is a supremely talented player who almost single-handedly transforms the Redskins offense whenever he’s on the field. But it’s equally indisputable that his presence on the field always comes with a huge caveat: He’s not there often. Thus, it came as very little surprise when ESPN reported on Sunday that Reed’s latest concussion leaves his career in jeopardy.
Reed hasn’t played since taking a hellacious hit from Keanu Neal in the third preseason game in Atlanta, and given his extensive injury history — which includes at least seven concussions dating back to his college days at Florida — and his age (29), the time has come to shift focus from getting him ready to withstand another hit to favoring his long-term health, by ensuring he doesn’t absorb them ever again.
Jordan Reed took a BIG shot to the head from Keanu Neal.
15 yard penalty.
Oof. Not the kind of contact you want to see guys taking, especially in preseason.
— Chad Ryan (@ChadwikoRCC) August 23, 2019
This would be the perfect time for an NFL team to do the right thing regarding a player with concussion history. Last week, Calvin Johnson revealed in a Sports Illustrated interview that the Detroit Lions straight up told him to participate in a cover-up of his own concussion.
“I knew I was concussed because I blacked out. I wasn’t seeing straight. And they wanted me to change my story,” Johnson told SI.
Much like Johnson, Reed is playing for a completely lost and irrelevant NFL franchise. But even if the Lions and Redskins were dueling for NFC supremacy, it’s morally corrupt to ask players to risk their long-term mental and physical well-being when both are so clearly at stake. Mangling limbs for the sake of gridiron glory is one thing (did you see Johnson’s hands in the SI story? And my god the infamous Ronnie Lott pinkie tale) but risking further damage to the most vitally important part of one’s body is a foolish move.
Just to put this in perspective, here’s a key excerpt from a Brainline post detailing facts about concussions:
People who have had repeated concussions may have serious long-term problems, including chronic difficulty with concentration, memory, headache, and occasionally, physical skills, such as keeping one’s balance.
That doesn’t even touch on more extreme factors like depression and suicidal ideation. Does that sound like something you’d be willing to live with in your 50s and 60s? Will you even live to be in your 50s and 60s having suffered so many concussions? Junior Seau, Justin Strzelczyk and so many more didn’t.
I don’t know if this even registers with Reed, or if he’s so dedicated to playing the game he loves that he’s willing to assume any risk associated with living his dream. But the Redskins should take the immediate decision out of Reed’s hands by placing him on injured reserve and releasing him at the end of the season. That way he gets his $7.6 million salary for this season as thanks for all he’s done for the team, and they can move on from him in 2020 with only a $1.8 million dead cap hit.
If he wants to roll the dice on his long-term health, that’s up to him — but at least the ‘Skins can do the right thing by granting him the ability walk away with his health. There’s always the chance the New England Patriots would come calling to get Reed to come back and risk it all for a championship, but hopefully he can say “thanks, but no thanks.”
But that would be too easy. We’re talking about the Redskins, so count on this being a season-long storyline.
© 2019 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.