Money Creates Security
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I played with broken ribs, broken fingers, a broken collarbone. The player puts more pressure on himself than the coach does. Today, coaches defer to the medical staff. Twenty or 25 years ago, medical staffs deferred to coaches. If a coach wanted you to play, all he had to do was walk into the training room while you were sitting there and say, "So, can you go today?" That's all it took.
It's different today because of the money and the salary cap. If I didn't play, someone might take my job. Today, no one is going to take Tony Romo's job if he doesn't play. No one is going to take Jason Witten's job if he doesn't play. The money has bought job security for certain players. I don't think the players' desire to play has changed much. But the way teams approach injuries has changed. If I've invested a lot of money in you as a player and I put you on the field while you're hurt, am I risking losing you for a week or for the whole season? That's a consideration.
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