Ladarius Green Should Exit Football For His Own Sake


Even though it wasn’t exactly a shock…it kind of was. The Pittsburgh Steelers announced earlier this evening that they have released tight end Ladarius Green with a failed physical designation, after doing the same with longtime long snapper Greg Warren.

It’s not as though there were no warning signs. They were amply present before the Steelers ever signed him to the four-year, $20 million contract last season, of which he will have earned $6 million, pending any injury protection that might factor in over the next two years.

Green had three documented concussions over the course of his four-year career with the Chargers, though he only missed two games combined through all three. However, local reporters did seem to concur with the rather infamous national media report during the summer that he was experiencing headaches.

That was a major sensation at the time, but that seemed to go by the wayside when he did finally get on the field and began contributing in the form of explosive plays for a Steelers offense that was beginning to look scary heading into the postseason with him in the mix.

Then he caught what was essentially the game-sealing pass against the Bengals in Week 15. He braced himself and took a hit to the head while as a runner after the catch, and subsequently had notable contact with the ground. This triggered what was at the very least his fourth concussion—and one that perhaps has just ended his football career.


I, for one, hope that that is the case for his sake, provided that the facts and assumptions about which I write are in order. Players are not released with a failed physical designation specifying the trigger for the failed test. Perhaps there will be some clarification later on down the line, but right now we can only, though likely safely, assume that he was released today because of issues stemming from concussions.

Green was still unable to return to the field about a month and a half after he suffered the concussion last season. We are now about half a year removed from that time, and we can only assume that he is still having issues. I hope that I’m wrong. But there’s a reason he didn’t pass his physical.

I wrote an article back in August during the height of Headachegate in which I attempted to shift the tone of the discussion from the professional to the personal, when many were primarily focused on recouping Green’s signing bonus.

I hope to do the same again at this time. The vast majority of commenters were understanding and sympathetic…yet some were very much the opposite, and I find that troubling.

We are dealing with a man’s long-term cognitive health, and this is a field that we are very much only beginning to understand. We know that young athletes who have died exhibited the brain structure of a person far older due to extended brain trauma. Chris Henry and others have already showed us the truth of this matter.

If all is actually as it seems, I do sincerely hope that Green is wise enough not to continue to pursue a career in the NFL for the sake of his long-term cognitive health. Some things are just more important than money or sports.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Delboka

    Great! I was affraid Tomlin was going to continue with him, even if progress on him seeing the field was slow.

    Good move for both sides. Still don’t feel like James is the answer. He lacks speed and strength to seperate a d out muscle the D.

  • Delboka

    Glad TE and Safety weren’t addressed in the draft.

  • Jaybird

    I was going to say something about how good Kittle would look in the 4th round, but screw it- JuJu is going to be a beast over the middle. He’ll pick up some of the slack.
    Oh yeah – STOCK UP – Xavier Grimble!

  • Ace

    So what’e the timeline here? Did players just show up for their beginning of year medical evals? Is that why Warren and Green are gone? Was it so simple that his concussion like symptoms didn’t ever recede since that Bengals hit? If that’s the case, wouldn’t it be great if they could give the rostered players the medical eval before the draft? Is the organization allowed to evaluate the state of players health before today? On top of that, KC came out and said (basically) the Greg warren was not healthy and they obvious hedged that with the 6th rounder. Why didn’t they have a clear line of sight on Green as well?

  • Bonnie Powell

    Agreed- I feel empathy for him. He obviously enjoys playing, but he really needs to consider his long term health at this point. It’s a shame cause he is a really good athlete.

  • Crowned

    But then how will he become a Patriot and get a ring?

  • walter

    Tell it to Green but I doubt he is listening. If he could have gotten paid by the Steelers for another season, with the about same amount of participation, Im absolutely certain he would do it and take the money.. And I believe if he can get another team to pay him, he will.

  • Doug McFee

    Better now than later on Green. I hope he moves on with his life’s work.

  • Scott

    James will be just fine.

  • Charles Mullins

    I wish him the best. GL man. Sucks, but it all comes to an end sooner or later. He was great when he was on the field.

  • Kevin Schwartz

    Word – sad to see that he’s not making it back on the field, but hopefully this is better for him in the long-run.

  • Rocksolid20

    Can we get a do over on the draft ?

  • Matthew Marczi

    Chances are yes, they are beginning to take official physicals right now ahead of OTAs. Keep in mind nothing until the start of minicamp after OTAs is technically mandatory. I think this is right around the time Spaeth was let go with a failed physical last year.

  • Delboka

    Needs more meat on the bones.

  • Matthew Marczi

    No…but we can hope for the best about the development of those two young tight ends. Truthfully I think they have enough to get by (after all, that’s what they did most of last season), but you have to think tight end becomes a high priority in 2018.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Ironically he credited his weight loss for his improved performance.

  • PaeperCup

    Sooooo upset. I’ve been saying this all a long!

    Couldn’t they here me chant TIGHT END TIGHT END before during and after the draft?!

    Seriously though, such a HUGE missed opportunity in this years draft.

  • ND_Steel

    Lol…not only did we know, but the BROWNS knew and jumped ahead of us for Njoku…

  • PaeperCup

    Both would be nice. Kittle was right there! instead we are dissecting Dobbs low 3rd down completion percentage.

  • PaeperCup

    Enough to get by….that’s unfortunate considering the talent in this years draft in the later rounds.

    Now we will likely need to use a high draft pick next year for the top guy….or maybe not because every other team saw the opportunity to grab a TE this year making it less likely anyone else is looking for one next year.

  • ND_Steel

    They are taking the offense in a different direction…I like it…JJ/Grimble/Johnson/Hubbard still allow them to play smash-mouth, but we could also see more three and four WR looks with Ju Ju and Bryant…and, they are big enough to block from a spread offense as well. Sucks to lose a weapon like Green, but we’ll see if JJ can be the Heath moving forward.

  • ATL96STEELER

    I wouldn’t have minded Njoku, but I don’t get the sense he was their guy…they seem pretty firm on edge.

  • ND_Steel

    I agree, I’m happy with TJ, but it is very suspicious that the Browns jumped up for Njoku now.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Considering I pretty much wrote the same thing in an article right after the draft, I can’t disagree with you. I was kind of starting to be okay with it over the past few weeks, but that was with Green in the picture. I still think they can get by for this season, but I imagine it becomes a high priority for 2018.

  • Luke Shabro

    Good for him. Get whatever you can. The league is a meat grinder that will discard players as soon as they’ve outlived their usefulness. I never get mad at guys for grabbing the money, as long as they aren’t slacking on the field. When he played he did play well

  • Dan

    This is a shame. I hope his brain is not too bad off and he’s able to lead a healthy post football life. The team will be fine. We’re not great at TE but we have plenty of guys that can catch a ball and block.

  • francesco

    It boggles the mind…we all knew that Green was one hit away from ending his career. This news is of no surprise really. Only to disillusioned and hopeful fans this news hits hard. I will not sleep over this. Next man up!

  • Matthew Marczi

    So weird sometimes how people making thousands are more concerned with the working habits of millionaires than of the ethics of the billionaires profiting off their labors.

  • Ace

    Would be nice if teams had the freedom to assess the physical and mental state of their players at any time throughout the year. Very frustrating. I could understand more if he was deemed healthy now, was a full participant through OTA’s and took a hit during training camp and they had to sit him again. But it’s obvious these symptoms just never cleared up from last year. And now, either due to the PS lack of knowledge, or to just bad rules in regard to medical evaluations and when they can be performed, they were forced to cut a lemon that they didn’t realize they truly had until the only two viable options for replacement are long gone (FA and draft). Man what a freakin shame. Sucks for Green, imagine the knot in his stomach all spring knowing his head wasn’t right and he was going to be waived. Wish him the best, but as a PS fan, WTF!

  • Michael Conrad

    So what do we do for a TE this season. James and what at TE does this give the the O boys a chance. Odom and Orndoff a shot at the 53.

  • Ace

    Bottles*

  • Matthew Marczi

    I think this pretty much cements the fact that Johnson and Grimble both make the roster. *Maybe* another one makes it too, but I think it’s more likely one of these UDFAs gets put on the practice squad.

  • Robert E Lil

    Is Golsen gone yet?

  • Robert E Lil

    Exactly

  • PaeperCup

    Exactly, the only reason I got over the TE thing was that the coaches were so confident in Green, and knowing when healthy he’s a beast. But something just kept telling him, DO NOT count on him being healthy.

    I do not in any way think they had known before the draft that Green would be completely unavailable to them. Even if you consider JuJu bringing a new element to the offense, Green or a TE like Green has to have been considered.

  • PaeperCup

    Well now they are forced to, but I highly doubt that was the plan all along. They saw how effective Green was when healthy. They see how effective a pass catching TE is around the league, I highly doubt they wanted to get away from that.

  • Ryan Alderman

    I don’t think James is the answer either, more of a complement. He has improved, though, so I’ll remain optimistic.

  • Dshoff

    If we were looking at Njoku, then I’m glad the Browns jumped ahead of us and took him. IMO OLB is a much more important upgrade then TE.

  • Dshoff

    I just wish it happened before the draft. There were 2 or 3 TEs that I liked STILL there on the board in the 4th.

  • Dshoff

    I have been VERY high on Grimble. I think he has HUGE potential. For some reason I don’t think the Steelers feel the same way. I think he has been inconsistent in practice. But from what I’ve seen in games, he looks GOOD to me!

  • Dshoff

    He hasn’t suffered his season ending shoulder injury yet. 🙂 Knock on wood!

  • Matthew Marczi

    Yeah, he does have consistency issues, which has been his problem. Both in practice, according to the beat writers, and observable in games as well. Yet he flashes this potential every so often that keeps you intrigued–and the Steelers intrigued as well, I believe. I’ll have an article on him in the next day or so.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Agreed, I definitely don’t think they knew this would happen with Green.

  • ND_Steel

    Sadly, most will continue to chase the money… and it is hard to blame them. Best case, they can set their families up for generations, worst they blow it all but have a blast doing so. Well there is that whole head injury thing…

  • Robert E Lil

    That “edge rusher” should solve everything

  • steelersfan

    DId this guy lie to the Steelers by not disclosing the fact he was experiencing symptoms? If so that’s not right

  • Luke Shabro

    Same reason people worry about social welfare more than corporate welfare even though corporate takes up twice as much and the corporations aren’t people. Not to get too political but it’s all deflection.

  • Rusted Out

    They had better sign Barnidge like yesterday!

  • steelersfan

    By “Great!” You’re being sarcastic right?

  • steelersfan

    Or ILB. That would’ve really hurt the team

  • steelersfan

    The thing is it could’ve been done prior to the draft. Not doing so is a failure on the part of the Steelers.

  • steelersfan

    Yup. Horrible planning

  • steelersfan

    I was thrilled when they didn’t draft one because I thought it meant Green was good to go! Looks like I’m as ignorant as Colbert

  • Walt Dongo

    Sign Barney, hes better than James

  • Edjhjr

    I have to say it was me , who said after the ravens game he would not play again.

  • walter

    Out of curiosity, I searched you tube videos on Ladarius Green and I think everyone should take a look at the video titled Brandon Browner “Helmet to helmet” hit on Ladarius Green HD where he allegedly suffered a vicious helmet to helmet hit that leaves him near unconscious on the field. I dont know what to make of it. Make sure you are looking at the long version. I guess I should view the other 3 conciussions too if I can find them.

  • walter

    That sounds like my Dad complaining about the ethics of US Steel back in the days of union strikes before all our billionaires took their factories overseas.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I see a clear shoulder to the head and subsequent whiplash, followed by his head hitting the ground. Not good.

  • Dave

    Everything was fishy from the start. Me thinks this was a scam from the day he first interviewed with the team. He knew he had issues but obviously hid them well enough to get a contract. Don’t feel too much sympathy for the guy. He made more money catching a few passes from Ben than most of us make in a lifetime. Blame him for why we didn’t take a tight end in the draft. Not upset with the Dobbs pick as he’s a better option by mid-season than Landry Jones if Ben gets hurt.

  • Delboka

    Not at all. It’s hard to be a fan of a player that is never on the field. Not saying he is a bad guy, but a waste of a spot if he just rides the bench.

  • Delboka

    Well he lacks having any true tricks. If youre not strong you better be fast. Just saying he is quite average. As much as we want him to be Miller, he never will be.

  • ND_Steel

    His last game was against the Bengals, no?

  • will

    TJ plays both ways?

  • Jaybird

    Lol , poor Dobbs. It seems like there are 35 articles already written about him and some negative aspect of his game. But after drafting Dobbs , I’m actually starting to think this might be Ben’s last year. Should we have gone all out and gotten him Kittles or a possible replacement in Dobbs? I don’t know man but I’m not looking forward to Ben’s retirement announcement , that’s for sure.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    It is.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Grimble is mccullers on offense. Flashes but not consistent. Too nice a guy.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Agreed…the top priority position need almost goes w/o saying but a Njoku/Willis combo at 30/62 would look pretty good right now.

    My point…If Njoku was indeed in their plans they had to be thinking there would be another edge player on the board at 62

  • Matthew Marczi

    I agree. He tops out as a strong number two tight end, in my opinion.

  • Darth Blount 47

    According to Jeremy Fowler…. Ladarius Green plans on trying to play this season. Wow.

  • Steve Johnson

    Well, he will have to pass a physical first. He knew he wasn’t healthy, he got one on over the Steelers. Hope he saved that money.