A professional athlete pictures a different ending -- a trophy, a parting gift, a sunset, maybe -- but the 37-year-old Green could be in his final days as a quarterback after sustaining his second severe concussion in 13 months on Oct. 7 against Houston.
Green's instinct may be telling him to fight, but the issue of head trauma in the NFL is a serious one.
For decades, head injuries and their aftermath were simply viewed as part of the game. You got your bell rung, you saw stars, you went back in the huddle.
Even recently players have worked the angles to get back on the field.
His score would then be stored away until he sustained a concussion, at which time he would take the test again and the results would be compared with his original test to help gauge the extent of the injury.
"I remember thinking, 'If I'm ever going to have to do this test again, I'm going to do it poorly the first time because I don't want to get taken out of a game,'" Manning said. "I remember kind of faking it."
Earlier this year, retired Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson told the New York Times and the Boston Globe that he believed
Johnson's neurologist said the linebacker in retirement is dealing with postconcussion symptoms --depression, memory loss and excessive drowsiness. (Belichick told the
The league recently has tried to take some of the decision-making out of the hands of players and coaches, recommending in August that players knocked unconscious not return to the same game or practice. But even here the lines are blurry. Last month,
In some ways, Green's situation has come to mirror those of
The head injuries were taking a toll on his body and, after much deliberation, he walked away.
For Green, the decision to retire may be even more difficult. Injuries have cost him at various points in his career. A knee injury with the Rams in the 1999 preseason led to
And then came his latest injury, earlier this month when Green's head crashed into the knee of Texans defensive tackle
As Green waits for medical clearance to return, he has already indicated he wants to play again, even as some have called for his retirement. His instinct to resume his career is natural. Green, like so many athletes, rose to the top of his profession in the face of naysayers and obstacles.
But there are also questions about his quality of life that he must face.
"I'm sure he will sit down with
Every football player steps onto the field knowing that he may not leave it the way he wants to.