CLEVELAND, OH – For the Cleveland Browns and their fans, football is life. Like a small town in Texas that covets their high school football on Friday nights, Browns fans flock to each other and relate to the players that wear those historic colors. They laugh, they cry, and on occasion, they celebrate with one another. But in the end, as hard as it may be for diehard fans, we must remember that it is just a game and that life is too precious.
Yesterday, the Browns announced the release of offensive lineman Jason Pinkston. In 2012, Pinkston suffered from a pulmonary embolism. In English – a life threatening blood clot in his lung. The same condition took him out of the last ten games of that season, but more importantly caused him to spit up blood, shortness of breath, and major fatigue. When those same symptoms returned before the start of this year’s training camp, there was a feeling a terrible deja-vu for Pinkston.
Doing the right thing, the Browns reached an injury settlement with the 26-year-old on Monday per Adam Schefter of ESPN. While the blood clot is sustained, Pinkston spent basically the last two weeks at the Cleveland Clinic. This case was much worse than the first time. Pinkston told Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer, “There were times when I wasn’t doing too well and I was unsure about things, but I’m better now, I’m moving around, I’m healthy, I’m able to play with my daughter now and things like that. I feel a lot better now.”
As a father myself, all the football games and money in the world doesn’t add up to that time with his daughter.
Drafted by the Browns in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, Pinkston started 24 games in his three seasons played. As a Brown, he was quiet and reserve, but never afraid to talk with fans. He held his own and saved the Browns offensive line after the devastating Eric Steinbach injury at left guard in 2011. He was going to compete for a guard position this season.
While this writer got the pleasure of speaking with Jason on a handful of occasions, you won’t meet a better person. This news is terrible and all fans can do is hope for the best for his future. Pinkston summed up his time with the Browns perfectly, “These are the best fans in the world, I’m going to miss the fans coming to training camp and seeing them at the games. I also enjoyed seeing them at all the community events I was able to be a part of. I really felt a part of this community.”
The sad lesson here is simple. Savor and appreciate everything you have in life, because in an instant it can all be taken away from you. Perhaps Pinkston said it best regarding the overall end result to his career, “I really don’t know what the next chapter is yet because I’m still taking all of this in, but I’m just happy to be home and alive.”
From orange-and-brown nation all across the world, thank you for representing our colors proudly and good luck in life after football Jason.
Ryan Ruiz is the Cleveland Browns Beat Writer for The Inscriber: Digital Magazine. You can follow him on Facebook: Ryan (BrownsWriter) Ruiz and Twitter @ryanpruiz24. Ryan is also a Browns correspondent for The Sportsfix. Tune in every Friday at noon on www.thesportsfix.net. Email Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org