Baltimore Ravens safety Bernard Pollard has put a voice to what many people are fearing in the high-impact world of the NFL: Someone dying on field.
"The league is trying to move in the right direction with player safety," he told CBSSports.com, "but, at the same time, coaches want bigger, stronger and faster year in and year out. And that means you're going to keep getting big hits and concussions and blown-out knees. The only thing I'm waiting for, and, Lord, I hope it doesn't happen, is a guy dying on the field. We've had everything else happen there except for a death. We understand what we signed up for, and it" stinks.
As a result, Pollard says it is quite possible the league won't even exist one day.
"Thirty years from now," he said, "I don't think it will be in existence. I could be wrong. It's just my opinion, but I think with the direction things are going, where they want to lighten up, and they're throwing flags and everything else, there's going to come a point where fans are going to get fed up with it.
"Guys are getting fined, and they're talking about, 'Let's take away the strike zone' and 'Take the pads off' or 'Take the helmets off.' It's going to be a thing where fans aren't going to want to watch it anymore."
But it was the possibility of an on-field death that Pollard kept coming back to.
"Like I said, I pray it never happens, but you've got guys who are 350 pounds running 4.5 and 4.4s, and these owners and coaches want scout-run blockers and linemen to move walls. At the same time, they tell you, 'Don't hit here, and don't hit there, or we'll take your money.' Like I said, I hope I'm wrong, but I just believe one day there's going to be a death that takes place on the field because of the direction we're going."