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Why Ellison, Tebow may have made their recent decisions, plus mailbag

Would you turn down a guaranteed $1 million or more in endorsements to send a message to your teammates? Would you find a way to get prescription painkillers from a source outside of your team if it possibly meant the difference between playing football for money or not? Let's take a closer look at both of these hypothetical situations.

Fighting through pain without telling the team is a way of life for some in the NFL. So much so that it was my first thought upon hearing that Kevin Ellison, the second-year safety out of USC, was arrested for speeding and found with 100 Vicodin pills.

To be clear, the details about Ellison's arrest are few and far between at this point, so I have no idea why he had the pills or his intent. But if the truth ends up being that he was fighting through an injury without telling the team about it, I would not be surprised. Before the arrest, Ellison appeared to be on the roster bubble. Telling the team about pain or a potential nagging health condition could have burst that bubble and would have been akin to career suicide.

Such is life in the NFL for fringe players, most of whom know all too well that teams don't like to keep guys on the bottom of their roster who have health issues. Though I don't condone the misuse of medication, I totally understand why some players make that leap.

Take the money when you can. A report came out that Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow recently turned down a few endorsement opportunities that would have meant seven figures of income per year. Tebow's camp suggested he turned them down to focus on football and that he wanted his new teammates to know playing was his main priority.

I can see both sides. On the one hand, it does not play out well in the locker room when players who have yet to accomplish anything in the NFL are regularly being seen as part of national television ad campaigns. For recent examples, look no further than Reggie Bush and Brady Quinn.

There is almost certainly going to be a portion of the team that harbors some resentment towards young players like that cashing in on even more than just their first round bonus money without every doing anything in the NFL. Many guys think those things should be earned and not just handed to somebody. That simply is not the world we live in. And one could make the argument that the rookie earned it by what he did in college.

On the other hand, these same angry veterans likely would have done the exact same thing if those options were available to them as rookies. There is something to be said for striking while the iron is hot, especially since there are no guarantees as it relates to success on the field. Any money that a player can get without having to potentially compete for it or risk injury for it feels like free money.

I took advantage of almost every off-field opportunity that was ever presented to me during my playing days because the window of opportunity is very small and I think players should do whatever they can to maximize their natural athletic gifts and their revenue potential while they still can. So I would have accepted the endorsement opportunity provided I didn't have any problem with the product or service I was endorsing and would encourage others to do the same.

***

I received a ton of e-mail this week after my overtime column. I estimate about 60-65 percent of you think I am dead wrong ...

Based on your theory, why have overtime at all -- just flip a coin to see who wins the game. The purpose was to give each team an equal chance of winning the game by playing it under essentially normal rules. The previous OT rules clearly gave one team an advantage (the one winning the coin toss). So, come up with one that gives each team a pretty much even chance and is played using normal football rules and you pretty much have it.--Ed Mahan, Marlborough, Mass.

Well, if the goal, as so many of you seem to suggest, is to make it so that each team has a perfectly exact 50 percent chance to win the game in overtime, maybe they should just flip a coin. I don't agree with the basic premise shared by many of you that we should continue to try to legislate the game until each team has an equal opportunity to prevail whether they win the coin toss or not. Especially since the coin toss itself is a fair 50-50 proposition.

If the OT changes were made to address the won/loss stats, why not move the kickoff five yards and leave all the other rules in place. Before the kickoffs were moved, the stats seemed pretty close to 50-50.--Martin Rosenberg, New York

This would have been my preference if the goal was simply to do something about the 60 percent coin toss winner "inequity" that currently exists in many people's minds. Just those five yards and the field position that would create would make it much closer to 50-50 and a lot easier for casual fans to understand because it would still be a sudden death overtime situation.

Bill Parcells is getting a free pass because the media is intimidated/mesmerized by him.--Bob, Natchitoches, La.

You aren't the only person who feels that much of the genius of Parcells stems from his ability to both manipulate the media and choose to enter situations in which the franchise he takes over has nowhere to go but up. Both of those may be true but it is still hard to argue with his results.

How radically do you foresee NFL football changing due to concerns over issue of repetitive brain injury?--@Donnzpg via Twitter

I really don't know because it will probably be a while before any conclusive results are available from all of the different organizations studying it. I just know that the more I hear, the scarier it gets.

Do you think the NY SB is a precursor for a future London Super Bowl?--@FFSentinel via Twitter

I don't think that is the intention of the owners in voting for the New York Super Bowl for 2014, but I do think, as I have written in the past, there will be a Super Bowl in London someday.

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