Eager NFL Rookies Ignore Risks

Eager NFL Rookies Ignore Risks

Riley Reiff is a 300-pound man with a chance to start for the Lions for a decade. He also is a 23-year-old who just left the University of Iowa and is trying to impress his bosses in his first job. We look at him as a lineman, but today, let's try to see him as simply a young man.

He might achieve fame and glory in his chosen profession. And the uncomfortable truth is that 30 years from now, he might not remember it. He might end up, like other great NFL players, with knees that don't work, arms he can't lift and, worst of all, a brain that won't function properly. If the NFL, doctors, equipment makers and scientists don't solve the concussion crisis, then Reiff, or others in his draft class, will end up in the worst kind of headlines.

And already, I've blown our promise: See him as simply a young man. Young men don't think about what they will be like as old men. As they float into a dream, they don't worry about waking up.

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