Days after the publication of a study in which 110 of 111 donated brains of deceased NFL players were discovered to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), New York Jets rookie safety Jamal Adams on Monday called the field “a perfect place to die.”
Speaking at a forum for Jets season-tickets holders, Adams said, “Literally, if I had a perfect place to die, I would die on the field. I would be at peace. Literally. That’s not a lie.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who was sitting next to Adams as he made the remarks, later cited the 21-year-old’s passion for the sport as an explanation for his controversial statement: “It’s just something that means a great deal to him. I get the emotion of that.”
But former Bears tight end Martellus Bennett, who’s now with the Green Bay Packers, feels otherwise. On Tuesday, Bennett tweeted: “I hope All these young cats that are willing to die for the game of football find a higher purpose in life.”
In another tweet, Bennett said: “Look football is great but I ain’t dying for this [crap]. Lol”
Adams participated in a forum that included Goodell and Jets running back Matt Forte, another former Bear. During a Q&A session, a fan asked the panel about player health and safety. Adams, a first-round draft pick from LSU, isn’t so fond of the NFL rules that often protect offensive players.
“I’m all about making the game safer . . . but as a defensive player, I’m not a big fan of it,” Adams said with a laugh. “But I get it. But, again, and I could speak for a lot of guys that play the game, we live and breathe — this is what we’re so passionate about.”
During the session, Goodell acknowledged there’s still lots of work to be done in the area of player safety, and he said the recent study is another tool for the league to use to try to make improvements. Another positive: a change in the way players react to teammates’ injuries as well as their own.
“Players now are doing a great job of raising their hand when they don’t feel right,” Goodell said. “Teammates are raising their hands, officials, coaches. We have backup plans with video. I think all of that is part of a culture change to say, ‘It’s great to be a hard-nosed player, but you play within the rules, and you also play as safely as possible.’ ”
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