ESPN made a big splash today with a concept that was first articulated here 12 days ago, the day after word emerged that Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs tore an Achilles tendon.
As we explained on May 4: “If a player suffers any injury while doing anything away from the supervision of the team, the condition is regarded as a ‘non-football injury.’ As a result, the player’s team could choose to not pay the player until the injury has healed.”
It’s not a new concept, some discovery made while Mort was scouring through the fine print of the new CBA. Injuries and illnesses occurring away from the team facility are “non-football injuries” or “non-football illnesses,” respectively. And whether the team will pay the player always is optional.
The Patriots, for example, paid linebacker Tedy Bruschi when he missed a season after surgery to repair a hole in his heart that caused a stroke. Other players who have suffered illnesses or injuries unrelated to their employment surely have been stiffed, with little fanfare from the team that decided not to continue to issue game checks for a guy who can’t play for reasons unrelated to anything that happened in the line of duty.