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Florio Changes Stance On NFL Players Leaving Team For Child Birth

Charles Tillman tries to tackle John Kuhn. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Charles Tillman tries to tackle John Kuhn. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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(WSCR) One day after NBC’s Mike Florio told The McNeil and Spiegel Show that NFL player should not leave their team to be with their wives during child birth, the editor of Pro Football Talk has changed his mind on the issue.

Yesterday, when asked about Charles Tillman potentially missing the Bears game on Sunday to be with his pregnant wife, Florio was adamant that NFL players should honor their commitment to their teams, rather than miss a game to be with their wives and families.

“This may not not be the most popular position in the world, but I fall into the ‘This is the life we’ve chosen’ category,” Florio told The Score’s Laurence Holmes and Matt Abbatacola, who were sitting in for McNeil and Spiegel. “There are ways nowadays – there are technologies that you can plan when you’re going to have a baby. There are four fairly important months out of the year when you work 16 Sundays and you get paid a lot of money to be available those 16 Sundays. You try to avoid being in a position where you have to make that decision on Sunday that you’re getting paid a lot of money to be available to play a football game. It’s easy for me to say this because I’ve never been and never will be in this position, but I think you gotta show up and do your job. Guys who are over seas don’t get to fly home if they’ve got a spouse going into labor, and they get paid a heck of a lot less money.”

Today, on his website, Florio changed his outlook. Check out the excerpt below.

In the end, each player has to make the decision if/when the issue arises, balancing a wide variety of factors and concerns, including but not limited to the health of the mother, the health of the baby, and the wishes of the mother.  Other considerations will include the value of the player to the team, the importance of the game, and the amount of money that the player could be sacrificing by not being available on one of the 16 days per year when presence on the football field is as close to mandatory as it ever is.

Teams should support whatever the player decides to do, even if the coach, G.M., owner, or others would have made a different decision — or if it’s obvious to team management that the player gave no thought whatsoever to even trying to time the pregnancy so that it would end during the offseason.

As to Tillman, he has said via Twitter that his new baby will be born Monday.  And that he’ll be present for the game on Sunday.

If, in the end, his wife goes into labor before or during the game against the Texans, whatever Charles decides to do should be accepted and respected by his teammates, his coaches, his owner, the fans, and the media.