I love football for a lot of reasons. I love the mental and physical challenge–pushing myself to my limits. I love the practice of facing real adversity–the physical obstacles actively working against me. I love the opportunities football has provided me–the lifestyle, the access, the financial security. 

But…and I’m sure most players will agree with me when I say this: My relationship with football is complicated.

this bill with money or favors.  You can’t own football. It’s fleeting like time. 

My relationship with football is complicated because in order to have any part, even the smallest piece just to hold, you have to give it everything you’ve got. If you don’t it’ll take more than you have to give. If it doesn’t seem fair, it’s because it’s not.

It’s not fair.

A lot of players don’t understand (whether they’re unwilling to or unable to is for another discussion) the true cost. Playing football is like crediting  You receive a large lump sum payment during the course of your career, and you’re responsible for settling up the contract throughout the rest of your life. Just to clarify, I’m not only talking dollars and cents—I’m talking cartilage and brain cells.

Haha. Shit just got real.

I can’t help but laugh because part of me is scared. I thought I paid the price for my seven years of service to date, but I’m only now realizing I still have the rest of my life to pay my dues and what that really means.

For injured players where I made a joke about headaches. I spoke of not being able to determine if my pains were the result of me simply being dehydrated or the result of multiple head traumas. I honestly don’t know. But, it wasn’t as much a joke as it was a bid for connection and understanding. The other guys laughed along with me. They know the struggle, and it’s nice not to feel alone in pain.

I posted a video on instagram a while back offering advice to young players aspiring to play professionally. It comes down to one question: What are you willing to sacrifice? Someone left a comment asking what I’ve sacrificed…Once again, I could only laugh.

I can recall one moment in particular in my career when the future cost of the game became undeniable, but I’ll save that for next time. To be continued…

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