Ravens free safety Ed Reed clarified his remarks about late NFL linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide last year.
Reed was asked about Seau, whose brain has been examined in an autopsy by the National Institutes of Health and found to have signs of trauma that could have led to his emotional state. Reed said initially: "Did he sign up for it? Yeah, he signed up to play football. Junior gave everything he had to football. I'm sure he's looking down and has no regrets."
The former NFL Defensive Player of the Year said what he intended to get across in his remarks is that Seau probably doesn't regret playing football.
"Yes, I made the comment about the late, great Junior Seau," Reed said. "When I said I know he won’t have any regrets, I was talking about football, not the fact that the man passed away and lost his family. People tend to not write everything, and that’s the bad part about our business. No disrespect to his family, but people tend to write the wrong things and take it out of context and that’s the worst part about what we do.”
Meanwhile, Reed said the game has affected his life and his memory
"I feel effects from it," Reed said. "Some days, I wake up and I'm like, 'Where did my memory go?' But I signed up for it."
Reed said he knew the dangers of the sport when he got into it, but has said he agrees with President Barack Obama and wouldn't encourage his young son, Ed Jr., to play football.
"Football has been like this for ages," Reed said. "It's going to be a violent sport. You are going to have repercussions from that. But every player that plays this game and will play this game signed up for it. We signed up for it. We know what could happen. That's the life we choose to live.
"I’ve been playing football since I was a kid, 7 or 8 years old. I’m sure there’s going to be something related to football. Like I said, I signed up for this. I knew it’s a contact sport. I know there’s going to be pains and ailments and injuries."
Reed said it would bother him if he has problems physically after retirement, but mostly for how his family would have to deal with that.
"For my family to have to go through that if it were to happen, God forbid," Reed said. "But any family who has to go through that, any player who has ever played in this league or goes through this league would hate that for their family to go through. It’s like any other tragedy, though. To be honest with you, none of us know our time.
"None of us know how we’re going to go. None of us know when that day, when that hour is going to come and when it’s going to come to us. Some of the best people in the world have died in the worst ways. Does that make them a bad person, though? We’re going to have our time, and sometimes the way you live can have an effect on the way you go."
Reed reiterated his concerns about the game of football and allowing his son to play.
"I’m with Obama on that," Reed said. "If my son wants to play football, I would educate him about the sport as best I could, just like I tell these guys about taking care of themselves. It wouldn’t be any different. If he wanted to play, I’m going to let him play. I’m also going to educate him, though. That’s what my foundation is based on. It’s about getting information to kids. It’s no different than what I said about school systems.
"I’m not talking about our president, but we have stuff going on in our school systems that need to be taken care of. We have a whole bunch of things across this world that need to be taken care of. It’s not just football. We have to make sure that we’re educating kids and people about what’s going on, versus just saying, ‘Don’t do this,’ or ‘Don’t do that.’ If you have the knowledge and the information, maybe then you can make better decisions. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about, your choices."
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