The NFL is dealing with a burgeoning tally of lawsuits over injuries, from concussions on down. One league personnel executive told CSNChicago.com that injuries are the true bane of a draft, because performance can be seen whereas injuries often cant.
A missed practice in college -- cause for concern or an isolated sick day?
Those kinds of questions will be among the most closely examined by the Bears and every other franchise this week leading up to the draft. Indeed, those issues already have been.
The Bears are among teams plagued by injuries to high-round draft choices (tackles Gabe Carimi and Chris Williams, end Dan Bazuin, defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek, others).
They have their own way of weighing the information that can either be stamped no problem or drop a player off a draft board entirely.
We call them tilts and flips, GM Phil Emery said on Tuesday. We'll tilt a player on the board. We'll turn his card going south a little bit if they're in that risk area. And usually we move those players to the right of the column. The players that are clean are to the left.
We'll flip them all the way over if the risk is too high -- if their medical grade puts them in a situation we feel the risk is too high. Meaning, we would not pick them. And if they're tilted, we're going to have a lot of discussion before we would move forward with that player.
Concussions have become featured cases, both because of their severity and long-term potential impact on players careers and lives. The league is paying more attention to them.
So are the Bears. They have increased the depth of their research, looking in seeming out-of-the-way conversations for leads.
Emery mentioned specifically the post-game comments of coaches regarding players, the late-week comments on why perhaps a player was playing or not or was a question, and other places in the college week.
From there they can sometimes surprise a prospect.
So digging those out, entering them into our database, we can ask the right questions of the player when we interview him, Emery said. When we get him at an all-star game and can say, hey, looks like you had a head injury and you were held out the first quarter.
Theyll say, whered you get that? And then say, Yeah, I had a concussion...
Going back a little bit about the medical research, that's part of our research. Anytime a head injury, conked out of the game, a headache, any of those words being used, we get it into our injury incident report so that our physicians call follow it up with the proper questions or the proper screening and medical test for that situation.