Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs respects and understands President Barack Obama’s opinion about the dangers of football – and hesitation about having a child play.
The hard-hitting 2011 Defensive Player of the Year also says that no matter how violent the sport, his 4-year-old son will be allowed to take it up if he wants.
“It would have to be his choice,” Suggs said Monday. “Football isn’t for everybody. If my son … came to me and said, ‘Dad, I want to play football,’ then I would let him play.”
The president’s thoughts were a main topic of conversation as Super Bowl week got under way.
In an interview with The New Republic, the newly inaugurated president expressed what many other parents might be thinking following new studies about concussions and recent suicides by former NFL players.
“I’m a big football fan, but I have to tell you, if I had a son, I’d have to think long and hard before I let him play football,” Obama said.
“I think that those of us who love the sport are going to have to wrestle with the fact that it will probably change gradually to try to reduce some of the violence,” he added. Ravens safety Ed Reed, for one, agreed with the sentiment.
“I am with Obama,” Reed said. “I have a son. I am not forcing football on my son. If he wants to play it … I can’t make decisions for him. All I can do is say, ‘Son, I played it so you don’t have to.’ ”
Reed, a nine-time Pro Bowl selection in his 11 NFL seasons, thinks there needs to be improvements within the league.
And he noted: “When you’ve got the president talking about it, you got something.”
Around the league
Seahawks RT Breno Giacomini has undergone arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow and is expected to take four to six weeks to recover. … The Rams have decided not to hire Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator and stepped in a new direction by hiring Frank Bush as linebackers coach. … The Steelers have hired Jack Bicknell Jr. as the team’s new offensive line coach. … The Bills will play one regular-season game a year at Toronto’s Rogers Centre for the next five seasons. … The Bears have hired former Purdue defensive coordinator Tim Tibesar as their linebackers coach. … Jim Anderson has retired after spending the last 29 years as Bengals’ running backs coach. … Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor is leaving Virginia to join the Eagles.