Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita has battled with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell all season and may have played his last NFL game.
Fujita is on the injured reserve list and done for the season after an MRI revealed nerve and disk damage that could also end his career.
“It’s still early in the process for that,” Fujita, 33, said. “I just want to get healthy and then it will be some private conversations between me and my wife and our doctors.”
Fujita said he has to consider his family's wishes when making his decision. He and his wife, Jaclyn, have three daughters, 5-year-old twins and an 8-month old.
"We've had a lot of very private conversations and we will continue that dialogue," said Fujita. "I almost didn't even want to tell her that I was getting the MRI. There's a big picture we've got to look at here, too."
Fujita recovered from neck surgery in 1999 and played "relatively pain free" until he began experiencing stingers during his last NFL appearance, Oct. 7 against the Giants.
Now, he doesn’t want to risk another operation. And much as it will pain him to leave his teammates and the game he loves, Fujita is smart enough to know that one more ill-placed hit could haunt him the rest of his life.
Fujita was inactive for Cleveland's past two games, but has remained in the NFL's spotlight as one of four players suspended by Goodell for their roles in the Saints' bounty scandal. He was in the process of appealing a suspension that had been reduced from three games to one, but now expects to put the issue behind him.
“That couldn’t be further from my mind right now,” Fujita said. “I fought that fight. I felt like I came out on the good side of it. They admitted publicly I had nothing to do with any of that. I feel good about that. Now it’s just a matter of whether I want to fight this silly redetermination that I didn’t stand up to my coach. “At this point I don’t give it that much thought.”