Pennington’s injury should come as a warning to players who don’t have insurance

Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington passes under pressure by San Diego Chargers linebacker Shaun Phillips during the first half of their NFL football game in San Diego, California September 27, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES SPORT FOOTBALL)

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is reporting that Chad Pennington will need surgery after tearing his ACL in a pickup basketball on Thursday. Pennington, who is now a shoe-in to win the I’m the Unluckiest Bastard in the World award yet again this year, can probably put to rest any thoughts of another NFL comeback.

Now, if this were 2002 or even 2008, Pennington tearing his knee would be big news on its own. But with apologies to the Pennington family, it’s not now. The big news here is that a player just got seriously hurt during the lockout and for those in need of a reminder, the NFL stopped the players’ insurance the moment they locked them out.

Pennington seems like he’s on top of things so I would image he sought the advice of his union when it told him to make sure that he has insurance during the lockout. But there are 1,700-plus players in the NFL – what’s the chances that all 1,700-plus players acted swiftly and made sure they were covered as well? Don’t forget, we’re talking about 23, 24, 25-year-old kids here that think they’re invincible. How many of them are rolling the dice right now thinking they don’t have to have insurance, or who have put the task off hoping the lockout will end soon?

Maybe Pennington’s injury will serve as a wake up call for those that ignored the union’s letters and e-mails about attaining insurance. Freak injuries happen all the time and you know Pennington isn’t the only athlete playing pickup basketball, or hiking, or skiing, or whatever this offseason.

And thinking on an even grander scale, maybe Pennington’s injury will encourage the NFLPA to get back to the bargaining table and put an end to this CBA mess so that the NFL can start providing players with insurance again.

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