Ryan Swope has been full of surprises recently. After setting the Texas A&M career receptions record with 252 over an illustrious four-year career in College Station, Swope was clocked at an elite 4.34 seconds in the 40-yard dash prior to the 2013 NFL Draft.
However, now he seems to be surprising his pro team in a bad way. The Arizona Cardinals swooped up Swope in the sixth round, but the former Aggies star has yet to see the playing field for training camp.
Team doctors have not cleared him due to concussion-related issues — more than six months after last playing full-contact football.
“We were very, very, very surprised about it,” coach Bruce Arians told NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport on Friday. “I’m not sure what he can do, I’m not sure what the doctors are going to do at this point. I hope … because the kid is a great talent, and it would be a shame. But having Austin Collie last year, go through this same thing, it’s scary.”
Rapaport then asked Arians to talk about which rookies have impressed thus far. However, the first-year coach seemed so flabbergasted at Swope’s medical situation that he returned to the topic anyways.
“I like them all. … Only guy I’m worried about is Swope with his head.”
The NFL is looking to prove to mothers across the country that allowing their boys to play the game will not leave them with any sort of long-term brain damage.
However, the league’s efforts in minimizing player brain damage can’t be feeling very good to Swope right now. The young man is this close to making his dream of playing professional football a reality.
Although Swope is presumably chomping at the bit to get back out onto the field and start hauling in passes from Carson Palmer, the team’s doctors are looking out for his best interests.
In a league driven by performance, the new emphasis on player safety may be more surprising than anything.