“Torn ACL” is a nasty, upsetting and depressing term. It usually means the player victimized by said injury will be removed from the sports sphere for his current and/or upcoming season. When an NFL player tears his ACL, or any other ligament in his knee, he essentially disappears into a football abyss.
And that’s been happening to a lot of NFL players this summer. In fact, we’ve yet to experience a regular-season NFL Sunday in 2017, but you can already put together the framework for a team of players who are out with injuries to the ligaments in their knees.
Here’s how it looks right now.
QB: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins: The 29-year-old was coming into his own before partially tearing his left ACL last December. And then he tore it again in August.
RB: Spencer Ware, Kansas City Chiefs: Coming off a breakout campaign, the 25-year-old suffered a torn PCL and LCL in his right knee
WR: Julian Edelman, New England Patriots; Cameron Meredith, Chicago Bears: Both starting wideouts tore ACLs in the preseason (Edelman his right, Meredith his left).
OT: George Fant, Seattle Seahawks: The 25-year-old was slated to start on Russell Wilson’s blind side before tearing up his right knee in August.
G: Forrest Lamp, Los Angeles Chargers; Nico Siragusa, Baltimore Ravens: Lamp, a rookie second-round pick, likely would have started from the get-go had he not torn his right ACL at the start of training camp. Meanwhile, Siragusa, a rookie fourth-rounder, was getting looks as a potential starter in Baltimore before tearing the ACL, MCL and PCL in his left knee early in camp.
DE: Dominique Easley, Los Angeles Rams: The emerging Rams pass-rusher tore the ACL in his right knee in the first week of camp.
DT: Billy Winn, Denver Broncos: The veteran reserve tore the ACL, MCL and meniscus in his right knee during a preseason game.
ILB: Reggie Ragland, Chiefs; Raekwon McMillan, Dolphins: There’s hope for Ragland, who missed his entire rookie season with a torn ACL but will have a chance to play this year after being traded to Kansas City by the Buffalo Bills. Not so much for McMillan, who was supposed to start as a rookie in Miami but tore up his right knee in the team’s first preseason game.
CB: Deshawn Shead, Seahawks; Cyrus Jones, Patriots; Tavon Young, Ravens: Shead might have a chance to eventually return this season after tearing up his left knee in last year’s playoffs. Same can’t be said for Jones and Young, both of whom went down with ACL tears this summer.
— Albert Brown (@albertbrown6201) October 4, 2016
S: DeAngelo Hall, Washington Redskins: The 33-year longtime star is probably the closest to returning. He tore the ACL in his right knee last September.
So we’re missing some front-seven defenders and maybe a safety if Shead, Jones or Young can’t transition to that spot. And we still need a center, a second offensive tackle, a tight end and a fullback. Ideally, we don’t get any of those. Sadly, we likely will.
The NFL is actively trying to further protect its players, but the reality is it could outlaw tackling and knee ligaments would still be torn. That’s the nature of the game, and it’ll never change.