By DJ Moore
I reviewed the defense call from Mr. Urlacher. First, he gave the close call and then the blitz. Viking was the name of the blitz, and it was intended for me to rush opposite the close call. I was excited to be sent on blitzes because this was something I did not often do in games. Mathew Stafford sits back behind his center barking cadence. Down-set, I creep a little closer to the line of scrimmage not to show my blitz is coming. He hikes the ball, and I hit the rush on a dead sprint. I’m running wide open full speed towards the quarterback. Surprisingly, I am unblocked. How dumb could the Lions be? Not dumb at all. It turned out, a 287-pound tight end came from the backside on a hawk block and shook my brain loose.
Before I move on, let me explain the hawk block. On the snap of the ball, an eligible offensive receiver comes from left to right or right to left to get the end man on the line of scrimmage opposite where he aligned in the original formation. In other words, if you are not paying attention, it could be a massive collision not in defensive player favor. Back to the story.
As soon as I get hit, the whole left side of my body starts to burn. I could feel my inner body going threw its chemical changes. I muster up enough strength to signal to the sideline to let the coach know I am not OK. Coach motions back to me that you are OK and you are not coming out.
Fortunately for me, the next play went away from my direction. By the next play, my body had reached homeostasis, and all systems were a go. I would find out much later that the team knew I had suffered a concussion.
After making a pit stop with the Panthers in 2012-2013, and after 4 years with the Bears, I was released mid-season. The first stop I made on the mid-season free agent train was in Detroit. On the visit, I had to do workouts and medical appointments with their team doctors. If they liked your workout, the team would take you to see their team doctors. I made it through the workout and was asked to see the team doctor.
I arrive at the facility to meet with the team doctors, and he asks me a question I thought I knew the answer to. “Hey DJ, have you ever suffered a concussion.” I reply “no sir, I have not.” He replied that I have one documented in 2011. I tell him again I never had a concussion, and then he turns the paper my way and shows me where the Bears’ training staff documented it. I paused and realized where that concussion had to come from. I honestly couldn’t believe someone would leave me on the field knowing that I was hurt. I wasn’t evaluated or updated after the play or game. I would have never wanted to stop playing, but it was their job to make sure I didn’t put myself at more danger.
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