Bills general manager Doug Whaley said in a radio interview that he doesn’t think people are supposed to play football because of the violent nature of the sport.
“This is the game of football,” Whaley told WGR 550 radio in Buffalo. “Injuries are part of it. It's a violent game that I personally don't think humans are supposed to play.”
His answer came when asked about the injury history of star receiver Sammy Watkins, who had surgery for a broken foot in the off-season and remains sidelined as the Bills’ OTAs continue. He is expected to be out through the preseason.
“I wouldn't say [he's injury-prone],” Whaley said of Watkins. “If you look at his game log, he’s only missed three games. So is he injury-prone? I wouldn’t say that. Are things going to come up with a guy like this? We hope that gets limited in the future.”
Bills head coach Rex Ryan discussed Watkins’s injuries with SI.com last week.
“The kid loves to work,” Ryan told SI. “This isn’t a china doll situation. The china doll deal is for someone else. All I know is when he’s healthy, you can’t cover him, it’s as simple as that. No cornerback in the league can cover him, and you can quote me on that, and I’ve got video proof of it. The best of the best can’t cover him.
“Has he missed a little time? Yeah. Big deal. He and everyone else. The [Odell] Beckham kid came out the same year, and he missed how many games with a hamstring issue? Believe me, I was trying to trade for him [with the Jets] when he had the hamstring. I was reading the [New York] papers, and I was like, ‘Well, hell, we’ll take him.’ But Sammy’s not even going to miss any time. He’s going to be ready to roll when it matters.”
As former players continue to be diagnosed with CTE following their deaths, and the NFL continually defiant of evidence surrounding head hits and long-term brain damage, the topic of injury risk in the NFL remains debated.
A recent ESPN report indicated that NFL health officials attempted to influence a government study surrounding football and brain disease.