The game of football has been under fire for a while now. But usually the criticism doesn't come from those drafting players to, you know, play the game of football.
That changed on Tuesday as Doug Whaley offered the most biting criticism of the sport we've heard from a current general manager or head coach.
When asked if Sammy Watkins was injury prone, Whaley dove into a more macro answer.
"This is the game of football," Whaley told WGR 550 Radio Tuesday morning. "Injuries are part of it. It's a violent game that I personally don't think humans are supposed to play."
While ex-players, doctors, ex-coaches and many, many fans likely feel the same exact way --- especially after viewing or reading the groundbreaking "League of Denial" --- we don't hear these words from those in charge of a team. Football is dangerous and the concussion crisis isn't going away. Whaley knows that firsthand from working with quarterback Kevin Kolb and Kolb's horrifying battle with a fourth concussion.
Kolb nearly died, swerving into the wrong lane on the road as his last concussion lingered for months.
So could others in power agree with Whaley? Quite possibly. Just not his right-hand man.
Head coach Rex Ryan was asked after Buffalo's organized team activity (OTA) practice Tuesday about Whaley's comments and offered his much-different take.
"I can say this, I love the game," Ryan said. "I think it's the greatest sport. I know it's the greatest sport. It's the greatest game. We all know how I feel about it. When your son is out there playing in college, OK, when your son is out there practicing..."
Ryan then went on to say how well his son performed during Clemson's spring ball. Of course, he has also been immersed in football his entire life as the son of Buddy Ryan. One after another, players said in the locker room last season that they weren't worried at all about the long-term effects of concussions with one admitting he didn't know what CTE was.
Earlier this off-season, guard Richie Incognito said he watched the movie “Concussion,” based off Dr. Bennet Omalu from League of Denial. And while he enjoyed it, Incognito also believes it was “dramatic.”
There are still many players who’ll play this game given its risks even here on a team with a GM who is acknowledging the dangers.
“I know the retired players are fighting their own battle against it and it’s something that doesn’t concern me,” Incognito said. “It’s one of those things where I could step off a curb tomorrow and break my ankle but it’s one of those things where I kind of block out and in all honesty, I’m in a little bit of denial about, because I don’t worry about that.
"I worry about playing football and being prepared, but it is a prevalent issue and a hot topic right now.”