Jets rookie safety Jamal Adams made headlines earlier this week when he declared that the football field would be the “perfect place to die” in response to a question about CTE. As expected, Adams comments didn’t go over too well with everyone.
So after practice on Tuesday, Adams walked back those remarks — in part because Jets coach Todd Bowles told him to do so. According to Adams, his comments were about “passion,” not CTE.
“Honestly, I really didn’t see it getting that far,” he told reporters, per ESPN. “I was speaking about being passionate about the game that I love. I understand that some families were affected by this disease. I definitely didn’t mean it in any type of way.”
He added that when you see something on “First Take” and ESPN, you should address it.
“My words were simply that I’m very passionate about what I do,” he said. “I said at the beginning [of the forum] … I’m all about making the game safer. I understand CTE and the symptoms and whatnot, and how families are affected by it, but it’s simply about passion.”
And here’s the complete context of Adams’ original comments, as our Kevin Skiver explained on Monday:
Adams was asked about CTE at a fan forum, and his response (along with the fans) was rather unexpected, saying that the football field would be the “perfect place to die,” a comment that was met by applause from those in attendance.
His full quote was “If I had a perfect place to die, I would die on the field.” This sentiment would likely be shared by many players, but CTE doesn’t kill players on the field. It’s a long-lingering disease that takes its toll on players after their NFL careers are over. Adams made the statement while sitting next to commissioner Roger Goodell, who has been under fire in recent years for his apparent downplaying of head trauma.
So no, that wasn’t the smartest thing to say especially considering a recent Boston University study found that 110 of 111 brains of former NFL players showed signs of CTE. In 2015, another study found that 87 out of 91 former players tested positive for CTE. In November, Dr. James Andrews said that football would be outlawed if it were invented today. Last week, the NFL terminated its partnership with The National Institutes of Health, which had been conducting concussion studies.
Then Keana McMahon, the ex-wife of late Steelers offensive lineman Justin Strzelczyk, sounded off to the New York Daily News.
“I don’t even know what to say. This guy [Adams] doesn’t know what’s coming down the pipeline. He has no idea what dealing with someone who has CTE is like,” McMahon said.
In recent years, the NFL has watched many of its young talented players retire early in part due to health concerns, from Calvin Johnson to Chris Borland. Meanwhile, current stars like Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger have acknowledged the issue when discussing the possibility of retirement.