Lions T Emmett Cleary donating brain to CTE research

ALLEN PARK, Mich. - Detroit Lions offensive tackle Emmett Cleary has pledged to donate his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation to help with research into CTE. The Legacy Foundation announced the donation Wednesday morning on its website.

"Everyone in football should be supportive of this research," Cleary said in the announcement. "I feel like you have responsibility to your teammates, other players in the league, and the next generation of football players to support the research. I would encourage anyone who loves the game to get involved with brain research."

He is the second active NFL player to pledge to donate his brain to research this year, joining Cincinnati Bengals offensive lineman Eric Winston.

More than 30 former NFL players have also pledged to donate their brains, as have athletes from other sports, including WWE Hall of Famer Kevin Nash and former US Women's National Team soccer player Brandi Chastain.

The Detroit Free Press reported Cleary interned at the Concussion Legacy Foundation for a summer when he attended Boston College.

"Football has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on my life. I love the game and I hope it continues to flourish," Cleary said in the release. "I think anyone involved with the game should be aware and proactive about research and the long-term well-being of the players. Why wouldn't I pledge to donate my brain?"

The Lions have had three offensive linemen -- but not Cleary -- finish games this season and then be placed in the NFL's concussion protocol days later.

Former Detroit linebacker DeAndre Levy, whose time with the Lions did not overlap with Cleary's, was outspoken throughout his final years in Detroit about the league's stance toward brain injuries and CTE, often taking to Instagram and first-person essays in part to try and bring about change and conversation about the issue.