Anybody ready for a good Thursday morning football cry? Clinton Portis' most recent injury caused LaVar Arrington to tell the story of the moment he knew his NFL career was over, and boy is it a doozie.
You really should check out the whole thing on his Hard Hits blog for the Washington Post, but here's an excerpt.
No hero's exit, no last play of the game as time ticked off the clock, not even a thank you speech to the fans. No, just a medical cart driving me into the locker room one last time.
Go grab you tissues, LaVar tells the rest of the story after the jump.
The moment came in 2006, while Arrington was a member of the Giants. During a Monday Night game against Dallas he was having the game of his career against the Cowboys until he heard a pop in his leg that sounded like "a tire blowing."
At first I thought I had been hit from behind by a low-down, dirty Cowboy, but then the reality set in and I realized that it wasn't a cheap shot. It was a ruptured Achilles' tendon.
Always an NFC East guy, Arrington obviously still has to get a shot in at the Cowboys. But how scary is the timing of Arrington's injury? He wasn't just healthy, he was playing one of the games of his career, and without contact from anyone else, his tendon just gave out on him without warning. He knew right away that it would end his career.
The interesting thing about LaVar's story is that it gives us uncommon perspective on how injuries affect these players in more than just a football sense. We see guys in the NFL suffer career threatening injuries far too much. But once we hear that a guy might not be able to make it back, we think to his replacement; kind of forgetting his side of the story, and how he will get on with the rest of his life.
When we arrived back at Giants Stadium, I can recall seeing Trishia, my wife, running up to the buses waiting for me to get off. As I came off the bus on crutches, I could tell she had been crying. But she knew she needed to be strong for us both. So with a straight face she asked me if I was okay? I told her yes, it hurts, but I'm fine.
The very next thing she said to me was, We're finished right? I looked in her eyes and I said yes, it's time to move on. And that was it. I never played another down in the NFL.
LaVar Arrington has always been such a large figure to me, so it's hard to picture him in a moment so tragic. As a fan of the work he does in the local media around here, I'm glad he has found a way to be successful after his football career.
This is the type of story that happens in the NFL far more than we would like to imagine. Story's like LaVar's remind us of how much the players we love are risking every time they take the field.