It’s all well and good to feel bad for Michael Crabtree, whose foot injury will cause him to miss the combine and possibly slip lower in the first round. But how about we direct some of that sympathy towards someone who really deserves it: a player for whom the combine means retirement.
Northeastern tight end Brian Mandeville took his routine physical only for doctors to find a problem with one of his heart valves. They’ve advised him that for his safety, football should not be in his future. Yep. His football career is done before it started.
Ranked as one of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED’s best small-school prospects, and as a player with starting NFL potential, Mandeville put up 57 receptions for 781 yards and 7 touchdowns in an injury-abbreviated three years at Northeastern. And now, that’s likely the peak of his career.
His agent, Ryan Tollner of Rep 1 Sports Group, said just minutes ago that the medical issues now facing Mandeville are not life-threatening.
“Brian will fly back to California and be examined by heart specialists to completely diagnose the issue. Obviously his well being is priority number one at this time.”
Tollner stated no one was aware of Mandeville’s condition until combine doctors notified them of it. He did state at this time it seems unlikely that Mandeville will have a career in the NFL.
It’s somehow not as sad because Mandeville doesn’t come out of a football factory. Northeastern is a good school, and he completed his degree in sociology so it’s not as if he’s unprepared for a life without football. And of course, disappointed as he must be, this is infinitely preferable to something happening if he hadn’t found out about his heart ailment.
Still I have to wonder if the advice would be to retire if this were a can’t-miss superstar. Worrying about a kid’s health is all well and good, but does it carry the same weight if there’s guaranteed millions in his future? Just something to think about.