Athlete Development

  • It’s tough for anyone to walk away from doing what they love, but even more so for an athlete. Yet, in many cases, it’s typically the best long-term decision they can make. I tip my hat off to Texas safety Nolan Brewster for making such a prudent choice. "It was probably the toughest decision I've had to make so far in my life, but I think at the end of the day, it's the right one," Brewster added. "It's difficult because I love football and playing for Texas, but I know in my heart this is the right thing to do. I just know I can't keep playing worrying about this continuing to get worse and knowing that I'm risking my long-term quality of life." [Texas' Nolan Brewster quits football]
  • New York Times columnist William C. Rhoden offers a piercing critique of the NFL and the Philadelphia Eagles for allowing QB Michael Vick to start and play in last Sunday’s game against the New York Giants, a week after suffering a concussion in a tough, physical game. [Weighing The Risk With Vick]
  • Eagles’ Pro-Bowl WR Desean Jackson has been involved a lengthy contract negotiation with his current team. Yet, he has made clear what his main goal this season is: to stay healthy. That way, e can prove he’s outplayed his current contract (he’s making $600,000 this season) if he’s injured. “Whether I have the ball in my hands or not, I feel like I already established myself in this league as one of the great receivers,” said Jackson. “I just gotta go out there and keep doing what I can do. Stay healthy is the biggest thing. As long as I can stay healthy, regardless of where I’m playing, I think I’ll be alright.” [Desean Jackson's First Priority: To Stay Healthy]
  • With the NBA and the NBA Players Association so far apart on CBA negotiations, many players are taking the extended offseason to pursue other interests. Sixers star Andre Iguodala decided to develop a potential post-season career by participating in an financial planning internship with Bank Of America Merril Lynch. “Also, being an athlete I’ve been blessed with an opportunity to make a good living and be able to hold on to a good amount of wealth. I understand that this basketball thing is a small window. The things that I’m getting from basketball … I want to stretch it out my whole life.” [Sixers Andre Iguodala Gets Lesson In Money Game]
  • ESPN contributor and National Football Post columnist Andrew Brandt gives a detailed breakdown of New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees’ upcoming contract negotiations. The All-Pro is set to be a free agent at the end of the 2011 NFL season. [Negotiations Not A Brees]
Human Interest
  • Former NFL player LaMar Campbell wrote a special commentary piece for CNN about the difficulties of making the transition to a post-athletic career. "You were a warrior, a gladiator. It's your calling, it is what you were meant to do your entire life: being institutionalized by football. This was my life for 11 years from college to the NFL. This is all that I knew and needless to say with new levels came new devils. With the exception of a select few, the end of your football career always comes much faster than any of us planned. Any player knows that they have to retire; the story only differs when you ask them how they think they will retire." [For retired NFL players, most challenging 'season' just beginning]
  • Hall of Famer Mike Ditka had very heated comments toward Jeff Pearlman, the author of a new biography on Chicago Bears Hall-of-Famer RB Walter Payton. Excerpts released from the book mention Payton’s post-career pain-killer abuse, marital affairs and suicidal thoughts. Ditka, who coached Payton with the Bears, defended his former player on ESPN Radio. “If you're going to wait 12 years after somebody's passed, come on. This is the sign of a gutless individual who would do this. Totally gutless who would hide behind that, and that's what he's done.” Ditka also added in another interview, “I'd like to remember him for the way he was and the person he was and what he meant for this city.” This post should serve as a cautionary tale for any aspiring athlete reading this. Whether you’re playing or not, your reputation can be tarnished at any moment. Guard it carefully. [Mike Ditka would ‘spit on’ author of the Walter Payton book]
  • ESPN’s Outside The Lines uncovers an interesting subject on adults betting on youth football league games in South Florida. This story serves as a reminder that gambling is part of the fabric of the sports culture and athletes need to be aware of the risks associated with it. [Adults Bet Thousands On Youth Football]