Above is the infamous Ryan Clark hit on Willis McGahee, four years ago yesterday, that put McGahee on a stretcher to close out the 2009 AFC Championship game. Though the next day the Associated Press considered it newsworthy that Willis McGahee would, in fact, recover from the collision, McGahee told Esquire this week that he didn't consider it an "injury" per se:
[McGahee] now plays for the Denver Broncos and was recovering from a torn medial collateral ligament. With the playoffs approaching, and with NFL injuries becoming ever more of "an issue" - the global warming of American sports fans, something to be fretted over and put aside - I wanted to talk to someone whose career has been defined by very public injuries and whose very public injuries have defined the state of football over the last ten years. But he didn't see it that way. "Injury has not been part of my career," he said. "I've only gotten hurt twice. I got hurt once in college and once in the pros."
Right, but that second injury, against the Steelers...
"No. I mean now. The MCL."
"So you don't consider the concussion an injury?"
"That's what they consider it. But getting a concussion and hurting your knee are two different things. You get back up from a concussion."
Willis McGahee was knocked out cold against the Steelers. He went out on the board. He didn't consider himself injured, though, because like all NFL players he considers himself an expert in what qualifies as an injury and what doesn't. The loss of consciousness he suffered in Pittsburgh didn't qualify because it didn't require rehabilitation. It didn't put his career in jeopardy.
The injury McGahee suffered in college (which he admits counts as an "injury"), is at this link, though it's not recommended for anyone eating breakfast. Esquire checked in with Ryan Clark as well, who said of the football grind, "People always ask me, 'Are you feeling good?' No. You never feel good. Once the season starts, you never feel good. But it becomes your way of life." Later in the piece, he defends his tackling style by saying, "Listen, I'm the first one to get to my knees and say a prayer." You can read the rest here.