Los Angeles Rams WR Brandin Cooks has had an illustrious start to his NFL career. He turned 26 earlier this season and has accrued nearly 6,000 yards receiving and 35 TDs. That’s a career stat line for many NFL WRs, and by many standards Cooks is well on his way to being enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame.
Unfortunately, due to the nature of professional football Cooks could be staring at those stats as his career totals as he and the Rams seek answers to traumatic head injuries.
The NFL has largely escaped the cloud of CTE and traumatic head injuries in the last couple years, but the issue has certainly has not gone away. Cooks’ situation is proof positive that it will always be an issue - even if it is being cast in a different light. The culture has shifted significantly around the NFL and the perceived impact of concussions has dipped slightly with that shift.
To the casual fan, the Cooks situation doesn’t seem all that odd. Football is a violent sport and injuries are commonplace. The more you read into the situation, though, the more concerned you should be. Sean McVay and the rest of the Rams organization are treading very carefully with the situation and are painting a picture that shows Cooks the WR is facing some serious life decisions.
Quotes from McVay in regards to Cooks’ concussions:
- I think for him, just being able to learn about the entirety of what’s going on and maybe have a better understanding of maybe why some of these things have occurred.....gives us a good feeling about how we want to progress and move forward with this.
- We’ll be very smart with how we ease him back into this, whenever the time comes, if that’s the decision that we make.
- We are going to send him to a specialist. He’s actually on his way there in Pittsburgh. I’m trying to see if we can get a little bit more clarity, because most important is Brandin Cooks as a human being right now, not necessarily the football player.
Those all speak to a head coach that is seriously concerned for one of his star WRs. There is no mention of a timetable for his return, and the focus is entirely on Cooks’ long term health and safety.
The Rams are taking the high road and making sure they are putting Cooks in a position to make the best decision for his post-football life. Maybe it’s because McVay is closer in age to his players than any other NFL coach, but the overarching theme with this situation is one of empathy.
And personally, I think that the rest of the NFL could take a page out of the Rams’ book here. The last thing anyone wants is another story like Wes Welker or Austin Collie. Prioritizing a players health over value to the team should be the standard, not the exception.