As usual, former New Orleans Saints and Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita weighed in with some compelling insight in the wake of San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland's surprising decision to retire at age 24.
Fujita told the MMQB's Peter King that he also considered retiring after he suffered a concussion during the Saints' Super Bowl win against the Indianapolis Colts in February 2010 -- but he "chickened out."
"A week or so before free agency, everything cleared up, I felt good, and I realized I still wanted to play," said Fujita, who went on to sign a lucrative contract with the Browns and play three more seasons that were hampered by various injuries. "You think you've got one last chance for a bite at the apple, and you feel good enough, and you figure you should take it.
"That's why, with Borland, my first reaction is he was brave and smart and courageous to make a decision like this. And mature, for a 24-year-old. ...I can tell you this: No matter how intelligently you think about your future, and a decision like that, it's tough to get off the hamster wheel and stop playing."
Fujita is more attuned to the situation than most, since he works closely with friend and former Saints teammate Steve Gleason, who is battling ALS, as part of Team Gleason. And Fujita, who also played for the Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys earlier in his 11-year NFL career, served as part of the NFL Player Association's executive committee when player safety was a huge part of the most recent labor negotiations.
Fujita opened up to ESPN The Magazine's David Fleming in 2012 about how he kept his concussion symptoms secret to stay in the game during that Super Bowl. That compelling article is also worth a re-read if you missed it. Although Fujita maintained that the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell got their handling of the Saints' bounty investigation "all wrong," he was very open about the conflicts he feels toward the culture of football and head trauma in general.