The big news coming out of Friday night’s Buccaneers practice at Raymond James Stadium was Ali Marpet. The 6th year rock at left guard did not practice and is still working through the concussion protocol. Let there be an abundance of caution.
A Car Crash On Every Snap
The intestinal fortitude it takes to play on the inside of a line of scrimmage at the professional level is intense. When the Buccaneers drafted the overachieving offensive lineman from Hobart College, many said ‘who’? When Marpet started his 80th game for the Buccaneers in 2019 having been voted team captain that season, they weren’t asking anymore.
Playing at guard, then center, then moving back to guard when the team signed Ryan Jensen in 2018. Ali Marpet has been a superstar on the Buccaneers offensive line. Arguably one of the top draft picks, and finds of the Jason Licht era. Playing a brutal position and with so much skill, the kid from Hastings on the Hudson, New York has been a hero to Buccaneers fans.
As Long As It Takes
For far too long, football players at all levels were taught to suck it up and carry on. If you have played football for any length of time and not had your Bell rung, consider yourself quite lucky.
In light of all the recent findings with chronic-traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), it is good to see players, teams, and most importantly, the league, take this so seriously. As much as players themselves want to get back in and play as soon as possible. There are just so many reasons, long term health being one, that after a proper concussion, ample time must be allowed to pass. This allows for complete recovery. Research tells us that in the last, suffering a secondary concussion, before a previous concussion had healed properly, can be exponentially more dangerous to the health of the player. Time is what generally heals this wound.
Reason For Pause
Buccaneers fans remember offensive lineman Aaron Sears. Also a 2nd round pick of the Buccaneers, in 2007 out of Tennessee. The offensive lineman started 31 games for Tampa Bay. He would win a 2007 All Rookie Award. Today he is a resident at a Florida State hospital. Unable to care for himself.
On June 2nd, 2009 it was announced that Sears was suffering from a neurological condition resulting from a concussion. It was career threatening. He would eventually be waived in 2010 and never play football again.
Concussions occur regularly in the sport of football. The fact that Sears and Marpet both played left guard for the same team is coincidental. The NFL taking concussions more seriously these days, is not.
Buccaneers fans are rooting for a complete recovery for the offensive lineman who is #74 in their programs but #1 in their hearts. As much as 2020 has been about an ‘over abundance of caution’, fans are hoping that is the case here as well.