Jordan Cameron, a 28-year-old tight end who played six seasons in the NFL, says many players, including him, do not love playing football.
Cameron, who recently retired, citing four concussions in six years as part of his decision, told ESPN’s Pat McManamon that many players have other reasons for playing besides love for the game.
“I don’t think a lot of these guys love football, to be honest,” Cameron told ESPN. “A lot of them don’t. You play for other reasons, and every guy has their own reason. They know why, and as long as your why is really important, you keep playing without really loving football.”
Cameron, who played four seasons with the Cleveland Browns and the last two with the Miami Dolphins, also gave some simple logic for why some players don’t love it.
“Because really, who loves to get hit in 10-degree weather by a 280-pound person? Really, no one likes that.”
Cameron said he “hated” when he was asked if he loved playing football, which as McManamon notes, is a common question around the NFL Draft.
Though Cameron said he appreciates what football has given him in his life and, like many other players, he will miss the camaraderie in the locker room, he said fear of concussions took its toll on his play.
“You’re playing physical and you’re playing an intense, violent game. You have to gear yourself up for that, but it’s hard to gear yourself up if you’re thinking about getting hit or what the implications might be.”
Cameron said there may only be a select few players who truly love football.
“A lot of guys don’t really love it. There’s a few guys that love it. Ray Lewis loves football. Peyton Manning. They love it. But a lot of guys don’t really love this game, and there are players that will read this who will understand exactly what I’m talking about.”
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