Johnny Knox: Bright career cut short
After his contract was terminated by the Bears Tuesday it appears Johnny Knox’ football-playing career actually ended about a month after his 25th birthday.
That was Dec. 18, 2011, when he suffered the hideous hit that he has been unable to recover from. It’s still out there on YouTube, if you can bear to watch it. Medical professionals have speculated that if the slight, 185-pound Knox weren’t a world-class athlete in peak condition, the clean tackle by 272-pound Anthony Hargrove might have killed him.
As devastating as the injury was, it could have been much worse if Hargrove had hit Knox in the head rather than in the shoulder area. If you want to make an argument for a stricter enforcement of helmet-to-helmet blows in football, just watch that video and imagine the result if Knox would have been struck a few inches higher.
So, in one way, Knox is fortunate. But having to give up your career at such a tender age is difficult, especially when Knox had already shown the ability to be a difference-maker with his big-play ability.
A healthy Knox would be exactly the kind of complementary player that the Bears’ offense needs opposite Brandon Marshall. Knox’ speed and big-play ability would have opened up the field for Marshall and given Jay Cutler the home-run threat that the Bears have been looking for since Knox was hurt.
Kudos to the Bears, by the way, who paid Knox $1.26 million last season, although it was evident he was not going to be able to come back soon, if ever.