Friday, November 23, 2007

Walk away while you can still walk

By Rick Morris

I’d love to say I’m surprised about this story. I am not, however.

I was very leery of Priest Holmes’ comeback this year because of the circumstances of his injury in 2005. Preliminary doctors’ reports indicated that he would be risking permanent neck damage if he were to come back and get hit again. As is the case with many self-destructive athletes with a sense of denial about their own mortality, he suited up again after sitting out a year.

And now, he has been forced to retire after learning his lesson the hard way.

"The decision to retire came after Holmes suffered three hits in last Sunday's game at Indianapolis that left him with some tingling in his extremities."

Priest Holmes is a class act and was a tremendous player during his prime. He will not be a Hall of Famer because his time as a starter was not nearly long enough, but his most dominant period stands up against anyone’s. I respected him tremendously and still do. And I hoped he’d be smart enough to realize that his health is more important than the game.

He wasn’t.

Hopefully, the damage he sustained recently will not be lasting in nature. And hopefully, others can benefit from his negative example and put their future well-being over one final, futile grasp for glory.

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