Part of being a NFL player is playing through injuries. At least that’s the perception. The unwritten rule is that you suck it up and do everything you can to stay on the field.
But does that type of mentality sometimes become a detriment for both the player and the team?
Detroit Lions secondary coach Marcus Robertson has seen the negative side of it.
The Lions’ defensive backs were beat up from start to finish last season. A total of 13 different combinations started in the secondary.
Cornerbacks Bill Bentley (shoulder), Jacob Lacey (knee) and Chris Greenwood (abdominal), and safety Amari Spievey (concussion), all suffered season-ending injuries.
In an interview with MLive.com, Robertson suggested that players need to be more honest with coaches and the training staff when it comes to their physical ailments. No more covering it up.
“I’ll take Greenwood, for example,” Robertson said. “Greenwood had the sports hernia. Well, he had it for some time and didn’t want to tell anybody because he wanted to make the team.
“What’s most important, in my opinion, is your health. Ultimately, what ended up happening is you didn’t let anybody know, and I’m looking at you saying, ‘You’re not the same dude that I saw two weeks ago. What’s wrong with you?’
“Then I have to make you spit it out. Now, guess what? We just lost two weeks, and that same two weeks cost you not seeing a game last season. It’s important for guys to understand their bodies and listen to their bodies, as well as take care of it.
“I played 12 years. I had my share of injuries, but one thing I did is I stayed in the weight room, took care of my body, and that’s the only way you can do it.”
Robertson went so far as to consult with Ed Donatell, the San Francisco 49ers’ defensive backs coach, during the offseason. The Niners’ D-backs have been relatively injury-free for much of the last two seasons, the complete opposite of the Lions’ often banged-up secondary.
The latest casualty for Detroit is cornerback Darius Slay, who was selected in the second round in the recent NFL Draft. Slay underwent arthroscopic knee surgery last week for a torn meniscus.