(CBS) Lost amid a disastrous 5-9 season for the Bears is a storyline that should be a bigger deal and the type that has already come under the microscope as player safety has been a hot-button topic on the national scene.
The multiple concussions and serious injury issues that Bears safety Chris Conte has endured.
The 25-year-old Conte has suffered two concussions this season, as well as shoulder, eye and back injuries. After sitting out Monday night’s loss to the Saints with a back problem, he’s played in 12 games — but only finished five of them.
It raises the question — is this football career worth it?
Conte answered with an emphatic yes in an interview with The Score’s Zach Zaidman.
“Ever since I was a little kid, it’s what I’ve wanted to do,” Conte said. “In college, I didn’t even graduate school because my senior year, I honestly let school be a casualty to that because I knew I had one opportunity to make it to the NFL, and I put everything into that. And I felt school’s something I could figure out later.
“As far as after football, who knows. My life will revolve around football to some point, but I’d rather have the experience of playing and, who knows, die 10, 15 years earlier than not be able to play in the NFL and live a long life. It’s something I’ve wanted to do with my life and I wanted to accomplish. And I pretty much set my whole life up to accomplish that goal. So I don’t really look toward my life after football because I’ll figure things out when I get there and see how I am.”
Conte admitted his parents do worry about him, but he has no plan to stop playing football anytime soon.
“As long as I outlive my parents, then we’ll be all right,” Conte said.
“My mom, especially, definitely worries about me, but they know this is what I want to do, and it’s what makes me happy. I’ve really dedicated everything I have to do this. I’m not saying I’m going to go die when I’m 45, 50 years old, but I’m definitely very fortunate and glad to have the opportunity to play football. And I’m going to do everything I can to continue to play football for as long as I can.”
Conte was drafted out of Cal in the third round of the 2011 draft by the Bears.