It’s been several days since this year’s highly publicized induction ceremony, but many around the NFL are still talking about Terrell Owens and his unorthodox Pro Football Hall of Fame celebration.
In the aftermath of Owens’s decision to boycott, the Hall of Fame is reportedly mulling a rule change that would require inductees to attend the ceremony. Former NFL kicker Nick Lowery stopped by CBS Sports Radio to give his opinion on the matter.
“You want to get the people that deserve to be in there,” Lowery said on Tiki and Tierney. “He’ll never receive anything bigger than this accolade. For him to find a way to turn this into something negative, it’s going to haunt him for the rest of his life. I don’t care how vivid it is. Maybe it’s a sort of Trumpian thing where you create noise there just because it’s perpetuating the spotlight on you through anyway possible, but it’s sad.”
Lowery also addressed his take on the NFL’s rising issue with traumatic head injuries. He is currently a spokesperson for Kannalife Sciences, which informs the public about CTE, as well as possible treatments. Lowery believes that within two years, one of America’s top professional sports leagues will introduce a test program that will utilize medical marijuana as a form of treatment to replace more dangerous substances like opioids.
“My prediction is in two years, one of the leagues is going to (set up a test program),” Lowery said. “I mean, a lot of this is politics and personalities, and when they align properly — you get a Players Association that has the ability to work with management, and then you got a commissioner that may have the right personality and the guts to do it, and then suddenly, you have a breakthrough. But I think within two years, certainly there will be a test program. The question is when do we get to the point where the leaders not only have the intellectual understanding, but the emotional empathy because they or a family member has been completely transformed — a father that has Alzheimer’s, a daughter that has diabetes or neuropathy, a son that has autism — then suddenly, they can’t think about it any other way? That’s what is happening in Congress now. There are so many people now that personally — they can’t ignore the overwhelming science. So our job here is to let people know. We aren’t going to say things that don’t have a real scientific basis.”
When asked about the impending threats that could permanently damage the future of football, Lowery asserted that concerns surrounding head injuries is right at the top of the list.
“There’s not only a threat because of what’s actually happening, but because of ignorance,” Lowery said. “We have got to be proactive about this. I think about (former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver) Steve Largent holding for the game-winning field goal in the 1982 Pro Bowl for me, and running back — when I get out there three hours earlier before we play the Seahawks, he and I would sit on the sidelines and watch the little, teeny-tiny football players with helmets bigger than their whole body, and we would laugh about that. Now, I would not laugh at that because those bodies, and those necks, and just the whole musculature and the skeleton in that region — they’re just not ready. Lets play flag football as Drew Brees did until high school, but we can teach tremendous improvement, and learned habits of how to engage, and make tackles in a much more safe way, then they’re ready at the age of 14.”
Lowery states the reason that the NFL hasn’t started to dive deep into the problem is because league officials are in favor of the way things are going from a business standpoint, but the three-time Pro-Bowler implores team owners to start embracing the science — instead of ignoring it.
“They’ve got a good thing going,” Lowery said. “The next TV contract is going to go from $7 billion to $20 billion or more, and I think they want to protect that. Who wouldn’t? But there’s another way to protect that, too, which is to simply study it — look at what’s working and be intentional. Don’t just say to improve the helmets, but look at what’s really happening with what’s absolutely proven, which is the cells in the brain can be safer. It’s hard because you have 32 very successful businessmen — each with their own personalities, and you have to manage those people and help them get comfortable. My guess is there are five or six owners who are just dead set against it because all they ever hear is that it’s marijuana, when it’s not marijuana that we’re talking about. They’re thinking about all of these horror stories of players getting high, and they care about role models in the community. That’s probably what holds them back, but what’s going to happen is that an owner is going to have a father or a son with autism, or Alzheimer’s, or dementia, or ALS, or epilepsy. It’s inhumane to deny this from players that don't need to live out the rest of their lives in great pain.”