NFL owners aren't interested in shortening the preseason -- that would mean fewer games off of which to make money -- but when a player endures a gruesome, faultless injury in a meaningless exhibition, we're left realizing that there's no amount of empathy that can heal the body, or in the case of Niles Paul, his career.
During Washington's preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night, Paul suffered a season-ending ankle fracture when a Browns player rolled onto his leg. (Warning: It's not pretty.)
Paul was originally drafted by Washington as a wide receiver in 2011, but since then, he's worked tirelessly to carefully gain weight and reshape his body into a bulkier and more powerful, NFL-caliber tight end. He began to see real results last season, catching 39 passes for 507 yards after recording a total of 14 catches in his previous three seasons.
In March, his breakout season paid big dividends in the form of a three-year, $10 million contract extension. Fully entrenched as Washington's starting tight end, Paul was tipped for an increased role in the offense in 2015.
That makes the following tweets, posted by Paul on Friday morning, so heartbreaking to read:
Stay up, Niles!
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