Chiefs head coach Todd Haley doesn’t like to talk about players that aren’t practicing, but it’s a safe bet that he will be keeping a close eye on TE Brad Cottam as he rehabs from neck surgery. Cottam spoke with Bob Gretz about the play that he was hurt on and the time just after.
“It hurt,” Cottam said remembering the moment. “But I didn’t think it was going to be that big of a problem. You take a breath and you go back and play. That’s football.
“I was up in the air and I couldn’t maneuver my landing after he (Browns LB Matt Roth) hit me. For a split second I might have blacked out, but I came too and adrenalin keeps you going. I’m very lucky it wasn’t a lot worse.”
After the game, Cottam underwent an x-ray, grabbed a shower and got dressed. It was a few hours after the game before they came in and told him what the x-ray showed. The words “broken neck” conjure up images that no player – heck no person – likes to deal with.
Did his career flash before his eyes?
“Sure it does,” said Cottam. “When they are telling you something like that, football suddenly becomes not as important. It sets your priorities straight and you realize how lucky you were. I just know it could have been a whole, whole lot worse.”
Obviously we get caught up in what Cottam could possibly provide for the Chiefs on the field next year, but we shouldn’t over look how lucky he already is no matter if he plays again or not. We’ve seen players land the same way Cottam did and never walk again, yet here he is with a chance to possibly contribute between the lines again.
No doubt the Chiefs doctors will wait until Cottam is completely in the clear before giving him the green light. Even then don’t be surprised if they wait an extra week to be safe. This isn’t something that you can just tape up and move along. There is no room for a misdiagnosis here, so we all need to be very patient with Cottam during training camp (and beyond).