Brian Westbrook was a guest on HBO's Joe Buck live to talk about about the season and concussions in the NFL. It was Westbrook's first public interview since suffering his second concussion this year and he admitted that he was "really scared" about his future in the game.
"I'm very concerned just because there is not a lot of data that says in 10 years or 20 years you'll be fine if you had too many concussions," he said. "I'm worried about that, and, hopefully, next time I go out there I don't have to worry about it anymore.
"That's my biggest concern. How am I going to be when I'm 50 or when I'm 60? Will I have all these brain diseases and will I have a problem remembering things? . . . Now, I'm trying to get myself together with the help of the doctors as well as coach [Andy] Reid and the training staff. Now, the most important thing is to get 100 percent healthy - and not play football . . . until I'm 100 percent healthy."
Almost as important as Westbrook getting physically healthy, he's going to need to be emotionally and mentally healthy as well. Football isn't a game you can play scared. If there's any position you really can be playing scared, it's running back. Westbrook is going to hit, probably on his head, time after time. That's the life of a running back. If he's worried about his health, that's bound to affect his ability to be successful. I'm not for a moment saying he's wrong to worry, but that doesn't mean it isn't a problem.
Either way, it was interesting to hear an athlete speak so candidly about the subject. So often, these guys have nothing to say outside of tired cliches. I appreciate a guy speaking his mind. Westbrook did say at a news conference today that he heard encouraging things from the doctors.
"What I learned from the doctors is that I wouldn't have a higher risk of getting a concussion if I come back after healing completely," Westbrook said. "That's the No. 1 thing, you have to heal completely before you come back."
He also said that he expects to play this season and is still committed to the game and the team.
"I think the only pressure I have is me wanting to go back out there and play the game," he said. "I want to come back because I think I can help this team win some football games. Of course, our final goal is to win the Super Bowl, and I definitely want to be a part of that."