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Off the Field Injuries: Impact and Accountability

By Dave Bruning

Injuries are a fact of life in sports. Hell, they’re a fact of life in the real world as well.

The ability of a football team to withstand or avoid injuries during the course of a season has a huge impact on the overall success of a team. Denver Broncos left tackle Ryan Clady’s tear of his left patellar tendon in his knee while playing basketball in the offseason is simply a foolish injury with far reaching ramifications. Optimistic projections have Clady out for three months although six months is more realistic.

Clady is/was the anchor of the Broncos offensive line. He had established himself as an elite left tackle and was only the 11th tackle to earn Pro Bowl honors in his second season. This was in addition to allowing the fewest sacks among tackles as a rookie out of Boise State in 2008. The timing of the injury is terrible, with the Broncos breaking in newcomers Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn. Sadly, the injury did not have to occur.

Most teams have clauses in player contracts prohibiting the players from participating in offseason activities deemed dangerous. Basketball would qualify. My gut feeling is many players ignore these clauses in their contracts.

Ben Roethlisberger and Kellen Winslow Jr. injured themselves in motorcycle accidents. Winslow’s accident sidelined him for the entire 2005 season. Roethlisberger’s accident in 2006 left him with multiple facial injuries and quite frankly lucky to be alive. He missed part of the following season and certainly did not play to his potential. Winslow was an inexperienced rider and Roethlisberger was riding without a helmet. Poor judgment certainly, and Roethlisberger’s keeps getting worse with recent sexual misconduct allegations.

Monta Ellis of the Golden State Warriors is another example. He injured his ankle in a moped accident just after signing a $66 million contract extension. He initially lied about how he hurt himself, but subsequently came clean. Ellis was suspended for 30 games as punishment.

These examples clearly show these young men engage in potentially dangerous off the field activities. I think they should be allowed to pursue recreation in the offseason. However, if injury occurs, they should be financially liable to their respective teams. A quality commitment to public relations and community service activities should also fill their recovery time. Their off the field choices can have a direct impact on their respective teams on the field performance. These athletes are paid way too much to not be accountable.

Ryan Clady should be in the midst of regular workouts with two new quarterbacks. It remains to be seen if the Denver Broncos best offensive player will even play a down this year. I hear he has a pretty sweet jump shot though.


  1. For some reason when I think of dumb sports injuries I always think of baseball players first. In particular there was a pitcher who tore his arm to heck trying to rip a phone book in two.

  2. Let's not forget Brian Greise getting KO'ed by Terrell Davis, a shopping cart and his dog. At least Clady hurt himself doing something to keep in shape, it's unfortunate but i'd rather that than a motorcycle wreck or the like.

  3. It happen for sometime,injuries might occur unexpectedly.Situations vary,it's different on the practice on the real game.So,the best thing to do is practice safety precautions.