Ben Utecht: 'It Is A Decision For All Players'

Ben Utecht spoke with the Cincinnati Enquirer about his victory over the Bengals in his injury grievance case.

Former Bengals tight end won his injury grievance case against the Bengals on Wednesday and in an interview with The Cincinnati Enquirer, Utecht said he believes his victory isn't just going to benefit him, but all professional football players.

"The important thing is it is a decision for all players," Utecht told The Enquirer in a phone interview. "It gives a standard that teams have to fulfill and for anyone that suffers a brain injury and a standard to be rehabilitated. That's something we have been fighting for our players for 3-4 years now."

Brain injuries have been a hot topic in the NFL lately. As players become stronger and faster the hits are more and more ferocious and more and more players are getting concussions. Utecht suffered five concussions before his NFL career came to an end before the 2009 season and now he struggles at times explaining things and has lost certain memories.

"There are some times I feel like I'm struggling through quicksand. I try to explain something or formulate a response and I have a difficult time getting information I want to say," he said. "From outside those are times my wife can tell you that something isn't right.

"I forget past memories and experiences that I should remember. My best friend will talk about his wedding and I don't remember that I was a groomsman and sang. Amnesia is the spookiest thing. To literally have minutes extracted. ... I pray that it doesn't get worse."

The deciding factor in Utecht's case was the fact that the Bengals didn't put the tight end through the maximum amount of testing before he was placed on injured reserve and eventually released. His case could provide the ground work for what teams need to do before letting players with concussions go or putting them back on the field.

"The reason for the win was that I wasn't put through the maximum level of rehabilitation like the maximum amount of treadmill work," Utecht said. "Teams are going to have to put players with a brain injury through the fullness of their testing but the league and union have to go and decide what is the exact return to play protocol."

The Bengals released the following statement following the decision:

"Ben was placed on the Reserve/Injured list on Aug. 31, ending any chance for him to play for us in 2009, so there was never a question of the Club attempting to get him ‘cleared to play.' He was not released until Nov. 17, so he was carried on the payroll for more than three months after the injury, and he was then released, on the advice of an independent neurologist that the timing was proper. Ben received excellent medical care throughout the process."

Utecht has gone on to have a successful recording career and has a book and another album due for release later in 2013.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Cincy Jungle

You must be a member of Cincy Jungle to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Cincy Jungle. You should read them.

Join Cincy Jungle

You must be a member of Cincy Jungle to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Cincy Jungle. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker