Football killed Kevin Turner.
Please don't try to convince me -- or yourself -- otherwise. The results of the study on his brain at the Boston University CTE Center makes it extremely clear that the former Patriot fullback died of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and not amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease).
According to the Boston Herald, Turner started playing football at the age of 5 and the Center said the severity of CTE found in Turner’s brain was nothing like they had ever seen before. Prior to these results, the cause of an NFL player’s death related to concussions was debatable. Was that player susceptible to ALS whether they played football or not? Junior Seau killed himself after a Hall of Fame career. Can football cause depression? I believe it can but others choose not to.
The element of this story that remains a mystery is the impact of PEDs on an NFL player’s brain. The late Frank Gifford suffered from CTE, but he died at 84. While his family said he suffered symptoms, did you ever see Frank on Monday Night Football and think he was struggling? And the guy was on TV forever. Kevin Turner died at 46. Many other cases of suicide and brain injuries have occurred in players who were in the game from the 1970s on. I don’t think it's a coincidence that the players from the steroid era have been more dramatic cases than their predecessors. Of course, no one -- the players or the NFL -- want to touch that narrative.
Football had never been viewed as a sport -- like boxing, MMA, auto racing, skydiving or a number of extreme sports -- that can result in death. Until today.
Will this prevent some from playing? A few. But, like the sports I just mentioned, football players are made of a certain cloth that will prompt them to play despite the risks. For some, it's the money and fame. Some just love to play no matter the consequence.
But now we can stop kidding ourselves. When we get our football fix every week, we're watching men taking years off their lives.
Bill Belichick is a teacher. His father was a teacher. His mother was a teacher. He is very much their son in that regard.
The glimpses into Belichick's essence aren't as rare as you might think, but they still generate an inordinate amount of interest because he's arguably the best to ever execute the kind of teaching he's made his life's work.
Every time he takes several minutes to answer a conference call or press conference question thoughtfully, the hundreds of words found in the text of the transcribed answer typically create a stir on Twitter. NFL Films productions that show Belichick operating behind the scenes are devoured. Exclusive interviews, where he shares his insight on individual games and matchups, NFL Films productions that show Belichick operating behind the scenes are devoured. Exclusive interviews, where he shares his insight on individual games and matchups, make every installment of the ‘Do Your Job’ series a must-watch.
Clips of Belichick on the practice field aren't necessarily hard to find, there just aren't many of them considering how many practices he's run over the course of his decades-long career. But thanks to more lax media policies at the college programs he visits for pro days, video of his on-the-field work pops up on a regular basis this time of year. They are mini-clinics dotting the internet.
This is Belichick in his element. Even in the middle of a random university campus. Even with scouts, coaches and front-office people from around the league watching his every move. Whether he's coaching players one-on-one or three or four at a time, Belichick is imparting his wisdom on eager close-to-blank slates. All the while he's trying to evaluate how they're absorbing what he's giving them. Do they pay attention? How do they process information? Are they error-repeaters?
It's a fascinating give-and-take between the 60-something coach trying to build a roster and the 20-something players trying to make one, some of whom hadn't yet hit kindergarten when Belichick won his first ring in New England. And he seems to enjoy it.
Here's a quick look at some of what Belichick has been up to the last few days at Georgia, South Carolina and NC State.
Linebacker Marquis Flowers is headed back to the Patriots on a one-year deal worth up to $2.55 million, according to his agent, Sean Stellato.
Flowers, 26, a sixth-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2014, was acquired by the Patriots near the end of training camp last year for a seventh-round pick.
More to come...