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Su’a Cravens’ Decision Deserves Compassion Not Backlash

Cravens Keith Allison via Flickr

NFL

Su’a Cravens Mulling Retirement

“Six more days, that’s what’s getting me through this until camp is out. The faster I get through this the sooner I am to that fifth day. That’s what’s getting me through this.” These are alarming words from Redskins second-year safety Su’a Cravens. During training camp, one day Cravens and linebacker Will Compton had a chat on the sideline. The conversation saw Compton mentioning how he hadn’t “felt” anything from the safety in the last two practices.

It is not clear specifically what Compton was alluding to, but it seems as though it had something to do with his energy. Cravens tells Compton that he had a good practice, however, the linebacker wasn’t buying it. He then tells Compton that he can’t just fake that energy in practice. Compton would then ask him “well what’s getting you through this right now?” Cravens response was “six more days.” Here’s the full video from JP Finlay of CSN:

It is no coincidence that this video surfaced after reports that the second-year safety considered retiring last week. This news was shocking to his teammates and those who are involved in the organization. Selected in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft from USC, the Redskins saw someone who could be used in multiple positions. He was regarded as a hybrid-type of player with a lot of athleticism who could play safety and linebacker. Those were two positions that Washington was struggling to fill at the time.

Injuries Are A Concern

Cravens’ rookie season showed signs of promise. He made tackles around the box and showed his play-making ability. In a game against the Giants last year, he intercepted a ball late in the game to seal the victory for Washington. Injuries would end his season prematurely. As a result, this would leave the young safety frustrated at year’s end. Injuries are something that Cravens seems to have trouble with going back to his college days at USC. During that time, he suffered a couple of injuries to his MCL and his groin.

As mentioned before, in his first season in the NFL the injury bug would once again plague him. He suffered a concussion and then a torn biceps. The concussion was most concerning to him and the organization because there were questions about whether or not his vision would be permanently damaged. Also, Cravens would go on to say that it caused him to lose track of moving objects. The team spoke to the 22-year-old about the situation and how concussions could affect his long-term health.

As the 2017 season approached, there was a lot of positivity surrounding the potential of the newly appointed safety. In a more defined role, there was a belief that this would be the answer to problems that the franchise had been having at the position. When training camp started, Cravens looked good initially and fans were eager to see him in action. In his first preseason game, he barely saw any action. He missed the entire preseason due to another knee injury.

Personal Issues Shouldn’t Be Overlooked

It is indeed a shame that a promising player would consider retiring this early in his career. The fact that people and fans are critical of his decision to do so is appalling as well. If his mind is not committed to the game anymore, then he shouldn’t play. If he feels as though it is not worth it anymore, he shouldn’t play. That shouldn’t be a problem to anyone. Instead of looking at it from the surface, take a look at why he would consider retiring in the first place.

Football is a very violent sport and takes a heavy toll on the body. It should be a reminder to everyone that not everybody is the same and some things you don’t have control over. That is the nature of it all. There is no doubt that Cravens still loves the game of football. That much is clear, but at the end of the day it is still a game and there is life afterward. Teammate Trent Williams broke it down here:

At 22-years-old, he has already had multiple injuries including a bad concussion. A football player taking charge of his life is nothing new. Chris Borland retired from the San Francisco 49ers in 2015. He was just 24. Ravens lineman John Urschel retired this year. He was just 26. Even though they are professional football players making good money, they are still humans. Humans have one life and most want to make sure that they live it comfortably. Washington has put Cravens on the exempt/left the squad list for now. He will have about four weeks to make a decision. I hope that he changes his mind, but it is understandable why he would walk away. Others should understand that as well.

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