Football coaches are paranoid by nature, but they take it to another level when it comes to injuries.
Even in the NFL, a league that requires an injury report, coaches act like giving out any injury information will cause the franchise to fold. It’s getting worse, too.
This week, Ravens rookie offensive tackle Greg Senat tweeted out a photo of him wearing a walking boot. Football players get injured; this doesn’t seem like the biggest issue to fret about. Senat dealt with a foot injury early in camp, and last week reporters noted he was dealing with a foot injury again. He deleted the tweet.
The Ravens responded by sternly saying the rookie would be disciplined for tweeting out the photo of him in a walking boot.
Ravens rookie will ‘be disciplined’
The NFL is a strange place sometimes. You’d think a photo of a player who is known to be dealing with an injury wouldn’t cause an angry response, but you’d be wrong.
“He’ll be disciplined for that,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said, according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. “So, I’ll make sure that we take care of that.”
It turns out, Senat has turf toe. He’s not a player who’s even expected to start for the Ravens this season. Harbaugh is upset that a backup tackle, a sixth-round rookie pick who everyone already knew was dealing with a foot injury, tweeted a photo that showed he’s dealing with a foot injury.
Who knows, maybe the discipline will be sitting in a corner for an hour. In the NFL, it usually means a fine. The NFL loves to fine its players just because it can. Whatever the method of punishment, it’s coming.
“Obviously, he doesn’t know any better,” Harbaugh said, according to Hensley. “At this point in time when the regular season starts, we won’t be doing that.”
NFL coaches have gotten angry over players revealing injury info
This isn’t the first time this month a coach has promised to punish a player who dared talk about his own health. New York Jets receiver Terrelle Pryor had the audacity to say he broke his ankle in May, and coach Todd Bowles was furious.
“I feel he should keep his mouth shut and leave the injuries to me,” Bowles said, via Gang Green Nation.
Jets beat writers assumed Pryor got fined by Bowles. For speaking about his own health. Imagine that.
Players should feel they have the freedom to disclose injuries when they want to. It helps them, in some cases. There have been countless players through the years who had bad seasons, and then we find out later they were playing through a bad injury. Would you rather have everyone rip you for a bad season, or explain that you were far from 100 percent and playing through pain to help your team?
Coaches don’t think this way. They are often drunk with power and obsessed with control. Being incensed that Pryor would tell anyone he broke his ankle in May seems crazy, but it makes sense to Bowles.
For what it’s worth, if the Ravens decide to fine Senat for talking about his own health, they’re taking money from a sixth-round pick who is slated to make $480,000 as a rookie, the league minimum. Though we don’t know what the Ravens will do, only that Harbaugh will “make sure” he’s disciplined.
Gambling changes impact NFL injury info too
Cracking down even further on talking about injuries brings up an interesting conundrum for the NFL (which wouldn’t let its players get fined for such things, if it didn’t enjoy fining players itself). The league has tried to act like gambling is evil, but it’s a reality now that states can offer legal sports gambling. The NFL and its teams have been dancing over the injury report for years: The league requires an honest report, and teams would rather lower prices for preseason games than talk about injuries.
The league will have to be even more vigilant about honest injury reporting with gambling becoming more widespread. Not that Senat’s injury would move any point spreads, but other injuries might. Players are being bullied into not talking about their health publicly by coaches who see that as a threat to their control. Then we’re reliant on coaches to provide honest injury news, and good luck with that.
With the many important issues going on with the NFL, at least we know that coaches are doing their best to pressure players — sometimes rookies making just the league minimum — into never saying a word about their own personal health. We can all sleep better, thanks to that.
More Ravens news from Yahoo Sports:
– – – – – – –
More from Yahoo Sports:
• Dan Wetzel: Ohio State pours gas on growing rivalry with Texas
• Why an NFL QB left a $90M offer on the table
• Red Sox star under fire for post about Hitler, guns
• How one MLB player got ejected twice in a single game