It's been two years since I parted ways with the NFL and opened up my Sundays to other things. At the time I thought of it as a "personal boycott." In other words, you don't stop watching pro football with the intent of igniting a movement, or of affecting one wit of change in the NFL. You do it so you can sleep at night, so that you can preserve your own morality. I left to keep my side of the street clean in the particular way that I like.
I regret losing a common language and a common culture. The NFL allowed for a bridge to other people with whom I had virtually nothing else in common. (Indeed it is interesting that my French studies began in earnest around the same time I stopped watching football.) But everything I've seen since has served to confirm the suspicions that led me to stop watching.
I still follow the news around the game, the way one might follow the doings an ex-spouse. (Oh, Tony Romo. Danny White will always love you.) A few weeks ago, I saw that John Abraham was retiring because he had been suffering from "severe memory loss" for over a year. It now appears that Abraham will return to the team:
Abraham, who suffered a concussion in Week 1 against the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football, left the team last Tuesday. He saw a neurologist Monday, which is one of the last stages of the NFL's concussion protocol, Arians said. If Abraham is cleared to play, the NFL's active sack leader could be back in the starting lineup Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Arians said Abraham, who suffered his first reported concussion, had been texting him for the last three days. About 30 minutes before Arians met with the media Monday afternoon, Abraham told his coach he could announce his return.
It's very hard for me to imagine myself watching a game in which John Abraham was playing, and I can't help but wonder how Abraham’s coaches and teammates feel. If Abraham is already suffering severe memory loss, there is no scenario in which football improves his prognosis. What will John Abraham be in 10 years?