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DANGEL: Youth Football Outsmarts Jay Cutler

DANGEL: Youth Football Outsmarts Jay Cutler
Boomer Dangel

Two stories caught my eye over the weekend: Friday I learned how youth football participation fell in California for the second straight year. That alone isn’t shocking, until you juxtapose that with total sport involvement rising.

Then, the Miami Dolphins signed quarterback Jay Cutler after considering quarterback/outfielder Tim Tebow for the same role.

Cutler makes sense for the Dolphins. He’s still got enough tread for a full season and played with Adam Gase before. Miami provides a serviceable offensive line and an opportunity to start an entire 16-game schedule – a luxury Cutler has not enjoyed since 2009.

He made it clear that he would not entertain a reprise unless he were the starter for an entire year. After all, Cutler accepted a cushy broadcasting gig with FOX three months prior.

The reason football numbers are down across America go further than CTE. Consider that the recent study of 111 NFL brains only examined donated subjects. That is to say, there was an existing suspicion of brain trauma.

Young athletes consider more than just CTE when choosing sports.

Athletic involvement: Several sports offer the same team building, sportsmanship and personal growth. Some require more physical activity than others. But they all train the mind and body. And for some sports, they accomplish that goal with…

Better training during better dates: As in, no two-a-days in mid-August. As in, not cutting the summer short to sleep in a gym with urine the shade of Viserys’ crown. As in, CTE aside, eliminating other…

Physical threats: Yes, I’m saving my brain from chicken noodle soup. But also not running full speed at each other and wagering hip replacement. That’s not to say that I won’t suffer major injuries anyways. But I won’t be jeopardizing the stagnation of growth in my formative years given the option of other…

Opportunities: Those who can physically and mentally compete should play football. And, while football offers more scholarships than any other sport, the odds for a baseball, ice hockey, gymnastics or soccer scholarship are still much higher. Football and basketball are the toughest scholarships to attain at a high level.

That assumes there’s an alternative path for the popularity, socioeconomic benefits, Instagram followers and prestige of playing football.

We know that’s not the case unless you’re Jay Cutler or Tony Romo. Both good looking men in their thirties who earned(?) their way into a broadcast booth. An environment, it’s worth noting that offers…

Athletic involvement: He still gets to spend time in locker rooms, around players, coaches and front office members. He still gets to walk the field before each game. In fact, several athletes opt into the broadcasting life specifically to stick around the sport. But, the media route offers more family time, better hours and…

Better training during better dates: Clearly they’re older than most players, which factors into a family life and living in a college dorm in mid-July. Broadcasters don’t have to report to training camp or put up weights every morning. They also mitigate…

Physical threats: As in, protecting a brain. As in, being involved with football and not getting sat on by 300-pound linemen. As in, being involved with football with the same… 

Opportunity: Opportunity for continued prestige, cash flow, travel, team atmosphere and ambassadorship for the sport. And Instagram followers, if that’s what you’re in for. 

Cutler got approached before his age of retirement with an offer that provided involvement in the NFL, no training camp, no physical danger, strong pay and an advantage over other players aiming to land on a broadcast ticket. To play with the Miami Dolphins.

And don’t get me wrong. I recognize the athletes’ desire for fame and invincibility. But youths and parents found the workaround for which Cutler can’t seem to sideline his hubris.

Follow Boomer on Twitter @boomerdangel and hear Talk Sports weekdays 10 am to 1 pm on FOX Sports Knoxville.

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