Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson won the NFL’s MVP award, but he has no intention of letting his young son grow up to play football.
TMZ cameras caught up with Peterson recently.
“Who is that you’re carrying?” TMZ asked.
“Adrian Jr.,” Peterson said. “He won’t be playing football.”
Peterson is without a doubt one of the greatest running backs of all time. He came back last season from knee surgery to repair a torn ACL and MCL. He rushed for 2,109 yards — nine short of Eric Dickerson’s single season record.
He helped lead the Vikings from a 3-13 record to a 10-6 record and a spot in the playoffs. He scored 12 touchdowns and averaged six yards a carry. He not only won the MVP award, he was also named the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year.
Peterson has rushed for 8,849 yards and has scored 76 touchdowns since 2007. He’s well paid, too. In 2011, Peterson signed a seven-year contract that’s worth as much as $100 million. That includes $36 million in guaranteed money.
But Peterson doesn’t want his kid to play football. The likely explanation — football is too dangerous.
Even President Barack Obama, a Chicago Bears fan, said recently that he’s concerned.
“I’m a big football fan, but I have to tell you if I had a son, I’d have to think long and hard before I let him play football,” Obama said. “And I think that those of us who love the sport are going to have to wrestle with the fact that it will probably change gradually to try to reduce some of the violence.”
The family of former San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau brought a wrongful death lawsuit against the NFL last month claiming his suicide was the result of brain disease caused by all the violent hits he sustained while he played in the NFL.
That legal action is in addition to the more than 100 concussion lawsuits involving more than 3,500 former players that have been filed against the NFL. Those players say they’ve developed dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, or they’re worried about developing those debilitating conditions.
In April, a federal judge in Philadelphia will hear arguments on requests by the NFL to throw out those lawsuits.
The NFL just announced that it would implement an electronic version of its standardized sideline concussion test next season so team doctors can get results even faster.
Trainers will also keep tabs on players from the press box. They’ll call down to the sideline if they see a player with a potential head injury.
Those changes will improve the situation for current players, but they won’t end the debate.
They also won’t improve the lives of former players who now struggle doing daily tasks because they suffer from brain injuries.