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Tag:Dave Duerson
Posted on: October 6, 2011 12:29 pm
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Books we want to read

It's time for a biography on Ed Sabol and his son, Steve. (US Preswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

With the controversy surrounding the new Walter Payton biography, written by Jeff Pearlman, I got to thinking about the other books we need to read but that haven’t been written yet. I’m not talking about a season in the life book of the 2010 Packers or the latest words written by Mike Ditka (at least five authored or co-authored by the Bears coaching icon), but about subjects we don’t really know and on topics we would love to explore.

For this Top Ten List with a Twist, I’m discounting what a publisher might say if he/she was presented with some of these ideas (namely, the idea that blah, blah, blah won’t sell or that nobody has ever heard of blah, blah, blah). Some of these ideas, no doubt, would work, and maybe, one day, you’ll see one of them on the shelf of your nearest book store in the cart of your Amazon.com page.

Without further ado, here are the Top Ten books we absolutely deserve to read.  

10. The inside story on the NFL lockout: Yeah, maybe many football fans wouldn’t care about a book like this, because they only wanted the work stoppage to end as soon as possible so they could continue to watch the game they love, but I bet it would be fascinating. What is the relationship between Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith really like? How were the compromises finally reached? Did Jerry Jones really tap his fists together and walk out of a negotiation session to make a point? For those  who reported and analyzed the entire ordeal, it would be a mind-churning look from behind the curtain.

9. Bill Belichick end-of-career autobiography: Although he almost always comes off completely uninteresting during his midweek and postgame press conferences -- hell, he eats his lunch during teleconference calls with the media! -- the recent NFL Network documentary showed that he’s an interesting dude. The fact he got a little emotional during a trip to the Meadowlands was almost shocking, and I’ve seen interviews with him before that are really, really good. If he let down his guard, like during that documentary, his autobiography would be a fascinating study of the best coach in football. There have been big-name authors who have written big-name books about Belichick, but when his career is over, I want him reflecting on the impact he’s made and the reason he did it all the first place.

8. A biography on Tom Brady’s hair: We’ve already had the obituary for Brady’s shorn locks. Next, we should have a book that tells the tale of the entire two-year history of the hair that helped Brady land that lucrative Uggs endorsement.

7. Sid Gillman biography: Gillman is the most important coach you might not remember. Unlike Paul Brown (who has a stadium named after him and a legacy in Cincinnati) or Vince Lombardi (who you might have heard a little something about) or Woody Hayes (a decent-enough coach at Ohio State) -- all of whom were Gillman contemporaries -- Gillman has fallen through the cracks of history. And considering, he’s the father of the modern passing offense, that’s a shame.

Rex and Rob Ryan (US Presswire)6. Rob/Rex Ryan quote book: This could even be made into one of those peel-a-page-every-day calendars, like the Jeff Foxworthy redneck gags or the best of the old Far Side comic strips. But if you like to laugh (or just shake your head), this book would be a big seller. You could have Rex talking about not wanting to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings or Rob discussing how Calvin Johnson would be the Cowboys No. 3 receiver behind Dez Bryant and Miles Austin. See what I mean? It’d be high hilarity.

5. Bryant McKinnie in the Blind Side, part II: Since McKinnie was the one to replace Michael Oher as the Ravens left tackle, McKinnie should have his own Michael Lewis-penned biography. I’m pretty sure McKinnie didn’t live in foster homes and on the streets before he was adopted, like Oher, but McKinnie has had struggles with his weight and he did (allegedly) spend $100,000 on a bar tab this offseason. It’s not as heartwarming as the Oher book, but a tome about McKinnie would be pretty fun.

4. The early struggles of black players: You know all about Jackie Robinson in major league baseball, but if I asked you who the broke the color barrier in the NFL, you probably wouldn’t have any idea. Hell, I read a long article about the NFL’s integration the other day, and I couldn’t tell you the guy’s name*. But this is an important -- and somewhat complicated -- history. Black players participated in pro football at the turn of the 20th century, and they also were part of teams in various professional leagues until the NFL stopped signing them in the early 1930s. It would be an interesting look at an era that, just like much of society, was decidedly unfair for anybody who wasn’t white.

*After blacks were excluded from the league in 1933, Kenny Washington was the one to break the barrier in 1946, one year before Robinson did it in baseball.

3. A Cam Newton investigation: Don’t we deserve to know who Newton’s bag man is or if there was a bag man at all? Not that it would make any difference in his pro career, but don’t you want to know if Newton’s father really demanded $180,000 from Mississippi State for Newton’s service? Maybe Auburn fans wouldn’t, but I certainly would.

2. NFL Films biography: People underestimate the importance of Ed and Steve Sabol. Proof of that was that it took so long for Ed to earn his way into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But the NFL -- and the NFL fans -- owe them a huge debt of gratitude, because the way you watch football today might not be possible if NFL Films hadn’t been created on the backs of the Sabol’s in the 1960s. I want to know how it started, the obstacles they faced in the early years and the impact the company has made to this day. It’s a book the Sabol’s deserve to have written.

1. An investigation into the rise of CTE: There have been a few journalists (the Newark Star Ledger’s Jerry Izenberg and the New York Times’ Alan Schwarz are two who come to mind) who do fine work keeping watch on the NFL’s relationship and response to the rise of head injuries that continue to devastate retired players and keep us reminded about what a brutal game football is to those who play it for your enjoyment. But from the premature death of Steelers legend Mike Webster to the shock of what Chris Henry’s brain looked like during his autopsy, from the suicide of Dave Duerson to the continued work of those who track of the rise of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, this is a book that needs to be written. And the sooner, the better.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: June 8, 2011 7:00 pm
Edited on: June 8, 2011 9:17 pm
 

49ers Hall of Famers donate brains for research

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Player safety is arguably the biggest issue facing the NFL. If the league can't regulate the constant threat of serious injury -- or worse -- out of the game, one long-term possibility (albeit remote given its current popularity) is that fans will grow tired of the brutality and professional football will go the way of boxing.

Which is to say: It could become a niche sport, and niche sports aren't multi-billion dollar industries. This should trouble NFL owners more than how to split 10-figure revenues with players.

If you can get past the political grandstanding, player safety was the primary impetus for the sudden rule changes midway through the 2010 season. That said, a few press conferences about reinforcing points of emphasis is a long cry from alleviating concussions and head trauma.

But as Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward has said countless times in recent months, playing this sport is a choice. "I understand where [the league is] coming from, but at the same time, you can't protect football. It's a violent sport. If you want to protect it, we need to play flag football.”

That doesn't mean the NFL shouldn't explore ways to reduce head injuries, or that medical research about the effects of 300-pound guys running full speed into each other shouldn't continue, just that there are inherent dangers in this line of work.

Which brings us to 49ers Hall of Famers Joe Perry and John Henry Johnson. Perry was 84 years old when he died this April, and Johnson passed away Friday at the age of 81. The Sacramento Bee's Matthew Barrows writes that the former running backs' brains will be examined at Boston University for evidence of dementia-like disease brought on by repeated trauma to the head.

Details via Barrows:
Perry's spouse, Donna, said she suspected Perry was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The condition previously had been associated with boxers but has recently been found in a number of ex-NFL players. …

Johnson's daughter, Kathy Moppin, said she is filling out the paperwork to have her father's brain examined. Moppin took care of her father, known as a punishing blocker, for the past nine years. She said his condition affected everything about him, from his memory to his ability to speak and walk.
Barrows notes that chronic traumatic encephalopathy has been detected in more than 20 deceased players, including former Bears defensive back Dave Duerson, who committed suicide earlier this year at the age of 50. Shortly before taking his life, Duerson sent a text message to family members asking that his brain be donated for research.

The Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University's School of Medicine announced the results in May: Duerson had brain damage.

The NFL isn't part of the Boston University study, but it gave $1 million last year and, according to Barrows, has encouraged players to donate their brains for research.

But here's the thing: Everybody's on board with making the game safer. The problem is that the NFL is talking out of both sides of its mouth. Decreeing six weeks into the 2010 season that rules violators will suffer swift, severe penalties was unpopular, but it sent a zero-tolerance message to the players. But the commissioner can't then turn around and prattle on about expanding the NFL season to 18 games because it's what the fans want (even though, you know, they don't).

The takeaway? If you ever find yourself questioning someone's motives, it inevitably comes down to one thing: money. The NFL is no different. Thankfully, despite what Roger Goodell might say publicly, fans aren't interested in more regular-season games, and players refused to discuss it during labor negotiations.

As one player told CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman last month, "We view it as a health issue and quality of life issue." Which, frankly, is how we should all view it.

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Posted on: May 2, 2011 12:54 pm
 

Dave Duerson had brain damage at time of suicide

Posted by Will Brinson

You may recall that Dave Duerson, the former Chicago Bears player who committed suicide in February at the age of 50, asked before killing himself that his brain be dedicated to scientific research.

It was, and the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University's School of Medicine announced those results on Monday: Duerson had brain damage.

Typically, according to Dr. Robert Cantu, co-director of the CTSE, the results of such studies aren't made public until after a study has been published. However, in this instance, the Duerson family wanted the results released immediately.

Since Duerson's death, many a member of the football community has spoken up, including ex-Bears coach Mike Ditka, who called Duerson's suicide a "tragedy." 

Duerson's death has also, seemingly, encourage members of the football community to speak out against the lasting effects of the game on their brains and bodies: recently, Terry Bradshaw went public with the admissions that he was suffering from short-term memory loss and depression, likely as a result of all the shots he took while on the NFL field.

Duerson's autopsy was disturbing -- and so is the motivation that leads a man to shoot himself in the chest in order to achieve the goal of suicide while leaving the brain entirely intact.

But it's clear now why Duerson did what he did: his brain was significantly impacted by his time as a football player. It's likely that the Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI, though you know them in their mild form as "concussions") he suffered led to his brain damage and likely a depressed state of life that led to suicide.

It's a sad, sad saga that's unfolded surrounded Duerson's death, but his willingness to sacrifice his brain, in more ways than one, will hopefully lead to better recognition of player safety and further medical advancement of how players' brains can be impacted by football.

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Posted on: March 23, 2011 3:27 pm
 

Duerson's autopsy report is chilling

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The Dave Duerson suicide gets more disturbing with each subsequent piece of news that emerges about the incident that ended his life.

First, there was the actual suicide. Then, there was the news that he purposely shot himself in the chest so he could donate his intact brain to science for the study of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. And then the news that he was bankrupt and that he had begun to have problems with his memory.

Today, it gets even more disturbing.

In a Miami New Times article, the paper reports the minute details of Duerson’s suicide from the autopsy report.

Before shooting himself, Duerson had propped a chair against the front door of his apartment and laid out documents on the dining room table. According to the story, he also placed “two framed certificates, framed medals, and a folded American flag at the head of the bed. Naked except for a gold necklace, he climbed into bed and pulled a green sheet up to his neck.”

Then, he held a .38 Special in his left hand and shot himself in the chest, with the bullet lodging in his right lung.

For more of the autopsy report, click this link to the New Times.

But like this whole ordeal, the report is disturbing.

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Category: NFL
Tags: Dave Duerson
 
Posted on: March 23, 2011 9:43 am
Edited on: March 23, 2011 9:44 am
 

Rex Ryan defends dad against slur accusation

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

About seven months before former Bears S Dave Duerson fatally shot himself in the chest, he conducted an interview with Deadspin.com where he accused former NFL head coach Buddy Ryan of using a racial slur during a conversation in 1983.

This is what Dueson said:

In the NFL, I was ostracized from Day One – not by my teammates but by my defensive coordinator. I was drafted by the Bears in 1983. My first day walking into Halas Hall, I met Buddy Ryan. He knew I'd gone to Notre Dame, and he asked me if I was one of those doctors or lawyers. I said, "Yes, sir." He said, "Well, you won't be here too long, because I don't like smart n-----s."

I worked for Buddy for three years, and there was not a day that he did not remind me that I was not his draft pick, that he did not want me there or something to that effect: "You won't be here too long because I'm trying my best to get you out of here." That kind of thing. And so it was a very lonely feeling in that regard.

It was not motivational at all. The guy simply hated my guts, without question.

Ryan immediately denied the n-word was even in his vocabulary, and Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings, Jets coach Rex Ryan got the chance to further defend his father.

"Can I be harsh? I thought it was ridiculous," Ryan said, via the NY Daily News. "Absurd. There's no way in hell that happened -- no way in hell that happened. [Duerson] might have made [the slurs], but my dad never did. That's how I feel."

And furthermore …

"There's no way in hell it's a stain on his career," he said. "My dad is a great person. Maybe there's a different agenda there. You can say a lot of things about my dad and me, but that's the most ridiculous comment I've ever heard."

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Category: NFL
Posted on: March 21, 2011 11:15 pm
 

Everybody needs to watch their language

Duerson Posted by Mike Freeman

In a briefing of NFL reporters at the owner's meetings in New Orleans on Monday a league official described the union's decertfication as a sham calling it a "fake suicide."

"The fake suicide was a fake," said the official.

The official wasn't trying to be offensive but he forgot a few things in making such an insensitive remark.

The official forgot that in February former Chicago player Dave Duerson committed suicide with a gunshot to the chest.

The official forgot that police suspect former Denver player Kenny McKinley of committing suicide.

He forgot about the suicide of Andre Waters, a former Philadelphia Eagles player.

Or how Hall of Fame center Mike Webster tried several times to kill himself before falling to a heart attack.

The official wasn't trying to be insensitive but it's another sign of how ugly the impasse is getting between players and owners. I heard a tape of the conversation and almost fell out of my chair.

Maybe we should all watch our language as this battle moves forward.

This post was cross-posted from Mike Freeman's Freestyle blog. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: February 24, 2011 9:59 pm
 

Duerson said Buddy Ryan used racial slur

Buddy Ryan was accused of using a racial slur by Dave Duerson (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Three months before he fatally shot himself in the chest, former Bears S Dave Duerson conducted an hour-long interview with Deadspin’s Rob Truck. Buried in the story was an interesting accusation: Duerson said former Bears defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan used a racial slur in a conversation with Duerson in 1983.

Since then, Ryan talked to the Chicago Tribune and denied ever using the epithet.

First, here’s what Duerson said to Trucks in an article published Tuesday on Deadspin.

In the NFL, I was ostracized from Day One – not by my teammates but by my defensive coordinator. I was drafted by the Bears in 1983. My first day walking into Halas Hall, I met Buddy Ryan. He knew I'd gone to Notre Dame, and he asked me if I was one of those doctors or lawyers. I said, "Yes, sir." He said, "Well, you won't be here too long, because I don't like smart n-----s."

I worked for Buddy for three years, and there was not a day that he did not remind me that I was not his draft pick, that he did not want me there or something to that effect: "You won't be here too long because I'm trying my best to get you out of here." That kind of thing. And so it was a very lonely feeling in that regard.

It was not motivational at all. The guy simply hated my guts, without question.


Reached by the Tribune, Ryan said, “I never used that word," he said. "It's not in my vocabulary."

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Category: NFL
Posted on: February 22, 2011 4:44 pm
 

Dave Duerson filed for bankruptcy before death

Posted by Will Brinson

The details surrounding Dave Duerson's suicide continue to become more disturbing -- it appears that at the time of his death, Duerson had a bankruptcy case pending in Florida.

Chicago Breaking Sports reports Duerson filed for voluntary personal bankruptcy last September in a case that is still pending.

The legal proceedings detail that Duerson had $34.6 million in assets and $14.7 million in liabilities -- however, the majority of his assets were located in a lawsuit (his company Duerson Foods, LLC, won a judgment but apparently hadn't collected) that he won.

Even that money wasn't guaranteed for Duerson, though.

"Debtor's ex-wife is entitled to 30 percent to 50 percent of judgment if collected," the bankruptcy filing showed.

The bankruptcy case also showed that his wife claimed Duerson still owed her $70,000 and that he was "trying to conceal certain assets."

All of these details indicate that while Duerson may have struggled with the mental aspect of post-football-life, he also had some serious personal issues present in his life that may have contributed to his decision to take his own life.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com