• December 6, 2022

Can Great Safeties Like Polamalu, Reed And Sanders Stay Healthy?

At times they line up in centerfield of the defense about 10 to 15 yards from the line of scrimmage and run full speed like lazers toward the football. As they approach the ball carrier or wide receiver, many times they will leave their feet and throw their bodies at the ball carrier.

They play the game as if they don’t care anything about their bodies. These guys are asked to blitz full speed up the middle, wide open with the knowledge that there’s a possibility of a muscle bound 330-pound offensive linemen picking them up. You can’t play the position with any fear.

The collisions that Pro Bowl safeties Troy Polamalu, Ed Reed and Bob Sanders are involved in are as vicious as any you will ever see. Many times the running back or wide receiver isn’t able to get back on their feet after the bodies collide, but many times the hitter is just as injured as their target.

Sanders, who was released by the Indianapolis Colts this week has been able to play in only 9 games in the last three years. He’s had all types of injuries to nearly every part of his body. The former NFL Defensive Player of the Year is only 30-years old, but his body may be too banged up to stay healthy again.

Which team will give him a shot? I imagine quite a few would be willing with an incentive-laden contract. I don’t think the Eagles will be the team to step forward even though there is a possibility that they could be. They do like that injury discount.

Back to these safeties, Polamalu missed a few games this season and labored through many of the others on his way to the Super Bowl and Defensive Player Of the Year award. I didn’t think he deserved the award this year, but I thought he may have deserved it a year or two in the past. His body is beaten up and he’s going to need to get his legs healthy again before he can play like he has in the past.

In the Super Bowl he just couldn’t run and was exposed by the Packers in pass coverage. He looked old in the playoffs and in the Super Bowl.

Baltimore’s Reed doesn’t play as violent a game as the other two. He’s more of a ball hawk as compared to being a vicious hitter like the other two safeties, but he missed quite a few games before coming back to lead the league in interceptions. Reed has talked about retiring because of the way he’s beaten up his body up with vicious collisions.

I think the safety position is getting to be one of the most demanding positions because they get the chance to run and get to top speed before hitting the opponent. It makes the collision much more violent and taxing on the body.

We haven’t even said anything about the concussions which have become a major issue.

This is something to keep an eye on going forward. How long can a good safety stay healthy? It may be that the safeties will start being looked at like running backs?


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February 19, 2011 3:28 pm

Depending on the discount for Sanders injuries would determine whether I would give him a shot. I mean hell if the guy wants to come play for a contender at a few million a year, it could be worth it. But if he wanted 5+ i’d let him walk.

February 19, 2011 3:52 pm

dawkins seemed to stay fairly healthy, and allen’s injury looked like a fluke. since the eagles seem to get the injury bug alot . i think sanders should stay away . the lincs field has not been kind to us.

February 19, 2011 11:29 pm

98% of the teams in the NFL already do really treat safeties like running backs. It just so happens that a few teams have truly beastly safeties. Considering he’s 30 and the number of games he’s missed I don’t think the Eagles will really look at him, particularly given they view Nate Allen as the starter and Sanders isn’t going to take anywhere near the league minimum.

February 20, 2011 2:21 am

Palomaulo has not had a food full season in about 2 years as his injuries start to mount.. There should have been no way he even win that Def Player of the Year Award this season as he missed 3 games late in the Season and played poorly in his return (Which he wasn’t close to 100%
It should have went to Clay Matthews Jr,or Brian Urlacher,LB Harris or LB Woodley in my opinion.. But this is what happens in sports..
The chose the players with the big names.. Ed Reed misses the 1st 6 games of the season, and still gets voted in as an All-Pro.. Thats ridiculous

February 20, 2011 6:11 am

Sander will be an Eagle. He is hurt and comes cheap.

February 20, 2011 8:34 am

Don’t let your babies grow up to be safeties.

February 20, 2011 8:42 am

The safest position is on the offensive line because it’s more brute strength and quickness instead of brain jarring colisions. Oh wait, read the life expectancy of the 300+ pound offensive lineman. Football is played by gladiators. The scaring thing is how many high school and college kids are ruining their bodies for the sport. They have to get those free degrees as insurance if they don’t make the pros. I know too many broken down guys I think of when I hear Springsteen’s “Glory Days”.

February 20, 2011 8:50 am

G, didn’t your son get a Stanford degree from football? I’m sure you couldn’t be prouder of the kid. He should be the example for all the high school kids. I got into a good school because of athletics and my 8 year old girl understands what sports can do for her.

February 20, 2011 10:00 am

Just look at the impact of hard-hittiing safeties and the subsequent brain injuries/concussions and the like.. Anyone read the Story of former Bear
SAfety Dace Duerson who committed SUicide a couple of days ago..
Sounds like a similar story of Former Eagle Andre Waters.. when the hits over the years has permanently hurt these players as far as depressions,mood swings, and other suicidal tendancies….

February 20, 2011 10:21 am

‘G”…..Atogwe is the best safety out there who specializes in takeaways….
you think the Eagles can kame a run at him by signing him to a deal with an 8 million dollar bonus he missed by the release? we have the money and the need for takeaways at the safety position.

we need help at the safety position bad.

February 20, 2011 1:22 pm

Well, the Eagles have signed their first seemingly underwhelming player coming off of injury of the year. Go ahead guys, let’s hear the complaints.

Seems like a guy to push Fokou for the SAM role, good at stoping the run.

BUT, in looking at the LB corp who is actually on the team, and not a free agent, the team page article says that only Fokou, Cheney and Clayton are signed for ’11. I’m thinking that it’s quite possible that they go with a very new LB corp next year, which we all can agree is a good thing.

Looking at Roseman’s trend, of shedding lots of ‘dead weight’ and brining in sweeping new bunches of players, I could see a new group of LBs for next year, when it happens.

February 20, 2011 2:39 pm

Bradley will be off a token 1-2 Year deal which he will turn down and move on to the ST Lous Rams to reunite with Coach Spags and will get a better offer from the Rams plus Bradley is a midwest Guy.. HE will end up with Rams or
maybe even the Chiefs or Broncos.. But I think his days in Philly are over
I also think the same thing with Safety Q Mickell who will entertain bigger $$ offers from the Panthers (to reunite with McDermott who is the only Pro Coach he’s ever had) or to the Dallas Cowboys who are desperate to get a quality Safety and possibly even the Saints (since he’s from
Lousiana) and the Saints will probably lose Roman Harper in Free-Agency and probably not re-sign an old and often injured Derek Sharper