My daughter texted me the other day and said “Dad you really need to update your blog!” She was absolutely right in that while I don’t get many comments on the articles I write, there are quite a few Harry Carson “loyalists” who come here to hear what I have to say. So for those (you know who you are) I apologize for being away for so long (again). I will do my best to stay up to speed with my thoughts and activities.
From the dating of my last blog entry many things have occupied my time and energy. Much of my time and energy went into the planning of the Giants 25th Anniversary celebration of the 86 Team’s Super Bowl victory. I have been accused by some in the past of sometimes being a “control freak”. With this endeavor I plead “guilty” as charge of maintaining control over the venture because I wanted it to be a success. Unfortunately I feel that if you want something done right, do it yourself! That was the case with the endeavor I took on. There are very few things that I feel as passionate about as the people I played with on any level but especially the 86 Team. I planned, organized and worked with the team to make the Reunion Weekend one that will always be remembered by my fellow players, coaches and their spouses. Long story short it was better than even I expected it to be. When it was over some of the players expressed their feelings. One former player said it was “the best weekend of his life!”, one of my coaches said it was an “unbelievable, awesome experience that all of us will remember for the rest of our lives!” I think all involved would agree that the weekend of being in the presence of one another one more (and perhaps one last) time was something we all needed.
While it was not my goal to garner such compliments, taking control of the situation and making sure it was memorable and everyone was included was my wish. Out of the 53 players on the roster for Super Bowl XXI, 51 players attended and participated and 8 of the 11 coaches were able to attend. The weekend is one of the best things I have ever done and I’m happy that everyone had a great time! If you all knew the time I put into the Reunion you will get a better understanding of where I’ve been and what I was doing.
The recent death of former Chicago Bears (Giants & Cardinals) safety Dave Duerson is tragic and certainly shocking for his family, Bears teammates and friends. Dave apparently took his own life but before he did he instructed his family to donate his brain to science to study the effects of concussions he sustained as a football player.
Dave was a friend, a peer, a teammate on several Pro Bowl teams, was only 50 years old but apparently suffered in silence from the effects of traumatic brain injuries. Dave was not a disgruntled former player who had an ax to grind with nothing to live for; instead he was a smart and astute businessman who had much to look forward to in life. Dave’s suicide as well as the NFL finally acknowledging the correlation between concussions and ailments like dementia later in life should open the eyes of players on every level of football as well as the parents of young players and spouses of professional football players. We all better start asking the very personal question, is the neurological risks of playing the game worth it?
I am saddened with the death of a friend but I must admit that I am not overly surprised. There have been other former players who have committed suicides and unfortunately I suspect there will be others who will see that as a way to alleviate their internal pain. I was diagnosed with Post-Concussion Syndrome in 1990. I’ve spoken very publicly about my own issues with concussions since about 1995. In doing so many individuals (players and non-players) have reached out to me as a resource fully understanding that I can relate to the issues of Traumatic Brain Injuries and not judge or ignore.
Football players especially professional football players are very proud individuals and are not always open to sharing their issues and pain to just anyone. I just wish Dave had reached out to someone for help, if he had perhaps he might still be here.
Sorry Giants fans, even with a respectable win-loss record there will be no playoffs this year. From a new “old-timer” I learned as a player long ago to not rely on others to do your work but to take care of your business when YOU have the opportunity.
When I was coming out of college I originally did not want to be drafted by a New York football team. But after I got over being selected by the Football Giants I decided to make the most of the opportunity. I was scouted by Giants Hall of Famers Emlen Tunnell and Rosie Brown while still at South Carolina State University. With names like that still involved with the team it didn’t take long for me to realize that the New York Football Giants were an organization rich in history and tradition. Some of you may have heard me say this before but I will share it one more time. My one goal as a player was, at the end of my career, to be “mentioned in the same breath” as other Giants greats like those I became familiar with.
On October 3rd at halftime of the Giants/Bears game my goal was formally realized as I was inducted into the Giants “Ring of Honor”. That evening my name was formally mentioned with New York Giants greats like: Tunnell and Brown along with Frank Gifford, Charley Conerly, YA Tittle, Sam Huff, Andy Robustelli, Dick Lynch, Joe Morrison and Pete Gogolak. Those were the Giant players who preceded me on the football field. Other players who also gained the same recognition but were my peers or followed my career were George Martin, Phil Simms, Lawrence Taylor, Michael Strahan Jessie Armstead, Tiki Barber and Amani Toomer.
I congratulate them all and acknowledge that the honor is all mine to be recognized with them as all our names are mentioned in the same breath being a part of New York Giants history!