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File | Baltimore Sun

NFL deja vu all over again

Such an odd thing, reading someone else's stuff and finding yourself, three years removed, on the exact same wavelength.

And so this from Wright Thompson, impeccably done as always, and a jolt or two of deja vu.

Three years ago I sat in the same hotel lobby in Canton, Ohio, where Thompson sat, and had the exact same revelation: The price of lasting fame in the NFL is terrible indeed.

Thompson describes all the shattered bodies shuffling down the corridors; I had the same experience in the same corridors. Willie Davis, the great old Packers defensive end, mincing along as if he were walking on glass. Mel Renfro, the great old Cowboys defensive back, shuffling along with a cane. Joe "The Jet" Perry, the once-dynamic 49ers running back, unable to climb the few steps to the stage without assistance.

I came away thinking the NFL owes these men whatever is humanly possible to give them, because without them -- and without their sacrifice -- the Shield wouldn't be the Shield. I still think that.

Ben Smith's blog.