NFL players compete in the ultimate risk-reward game

I wrote a couple weeks ago that the future looked promising for the Reds. That is why I don’t bet on sports (unless I happen to be in Las Vegas). I am so sorry for getting your hopes up, Reds fans. Hey, smile, football is almost here.

John Urschel retired from football last week at age 26. His decision, in the wake of the latest CTE findings, is another sign NFL players aren’t stupid. Urschel, a math genius who is going to study at MIT, played guard for the Baltimore Ravens. Some think this is another domino that eventually will bring down football. I don’t think so; Urschel obviously has options.

I do think it will be common someday to see most players quit before they’re 30. Six or seven years in the NFL would leave any player financially secure. It’s the ultimate risk-reward scenario. Unfortunately, there’s no way to know how many hits are too many. And it’s doubtful that improved safety measures will make up for the sheer size and speed of the modern NFL player.

Ohio State football practice began last week. I saw one photo of players running in sand. That’s nice for summer vacation, but not when wearing football gear. Even though the NCAA no longer allows two-a-day practices (Bear Bryant is rolling over in his grave) I’m confident Urban Meyer will find plenty of ways to get the Buckeyes in shape.

It’s time to play “Where’s Brady?” Kettering native Brady Hoke is continuing his nationwide coaching tour, working this season as the defensive line coach at Tennessee. Vols head coach Butch Jones should beware. Hoke was fired at Michigan before finding a job at Oregon. The head coach for the Ducks, Mark Helfrich, was fired last season, forcing Hoke to look elsewhere. These things happen in threes, Butch.

Big Ten Media Days were held last week in Chicago. It’s the ultimate college football grip-and-grin festival. Every coach is “excited” and it seems as if every team has improved immensely. Gotta give Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh props for showing up in khakis and a Block M baseball hat. The coaches group photo was awesome. Thirteen uptight guys in suits and Harbaugh.

David Irving, who plays for the Dallas Cowboys, announced last week that he lost his nipple ring during practice. I can’t believe I just typed that sentence. Irving, not surprisingly, will start the season by serving a four-game suspension after failing a drug test. This news came on the heels of Falcons receiver Julio Jones announcing that he had lost a $100,000 earring while jet-skiing.

Former Alabama defensive tackle O.J. Smith is transferring to Minnesota. He made the announcement on Twitter, of course, writing: “I Am Officially Family Of The University of Minnisota!” I’m guessing he’s not a geography major. Smith did correctly spell Minnesota in other tweets, so he probably knows where he’s going.

Trending up: Jose Siri, Masahiro Tanaka, Giovani Bernard. Siri, a 22-year-old outfielder for the Dragons, took a 33-game hitting streak into Saturday night’s game in Fort Wayne. This kid is becoming the Joe DiMaggio of Dayton. He’s also giving us one more excuse to check out Fifth Third Field this summer — not that a good ol’ diaper derby isn’t captivating enough.

Trending down: Joe Flacco, Andrew Luck, Clayton Kershaw. The Ravens quarterback is out with a bad back. The team hasn’t pinpointed a firm date for Flacco’s return, but the steady QB hopes to miss only a week of training camp. His backup, Ryan Mallett, reportedly was awful in practice Friday, which triggered the “better call Kaepernick” alarms.

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