Injuries Amount to Pressure

On August 1, 2009, the 31st pick in the 2009 NFL draft, RB Chris “Beanie” Wells, signed a five-year contract worth $11.8 million, with $6.3 million guaranteed; on August 2, he was already injured.

In his first professional practice, Wells suffered an ankle injury (not so surprisingly, it was on the right ankle connected to the right foot which caused him to miss three games in 2008 while at Ohio State) on his right ankle that has been reported as a “minor” ankle injury. The problem is that there is no such thing as a “minor” injury in the NFL. Now that he has been sidelined, for an indefinite time period, he is losing valuable repetitions at his position that he will never get back. 

The problem with most young rookies who are drafted high rounds is they forget the professional ranks do not operate like the collegiate ranks. Most of the 256 players who were drafted in 2009 were essentially T.M.O.C.s (The Man On Campus) during their collegiate playing days. But having the opportunity to play at the professional level is now a J.O.B.! 

One of the most shocking and perplexing realities for an injured player is the fact that many think  they have time to “completely” heal the injury. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, because the competition for playing time is at a premium, so the pressure is mounting to get back on the practice field as soon as possible.

Including preseason and regular season, but excluding playoffs, there are essentially 20 games a player may participate in at the professional level, as opposed to the 12 or 13 he played in college. By the time the middle of the season arrives, most rookie player’s bodies are so worn down, and that injury that was sustained in training camp is not getting sufficient time to heal.

So the pressure (self inflicted, public, or whatever you call it) is on for Wells to get back on the field as so as possible, but at what price will it cost him in terms of lost reps which can lead to a lost job, or coming back before he is ready, which can also lead to a lost job!


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