Over the weekend news broke of Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman reportedly suffering an injury to one of his ACLs. The report stated a "slight" tear in his knee ligament which could end his 2016 season before it ever began. Perriman was seeking a second opinion before deciding on options for his future.
Stop me if you've heard this before, and all of you should be pumping the brakes, as Perriman had to sit out the entire 2015 season, his rookie year, after injuring his knee, albeit a different ligament, before the season even began.
When news like this happens, fans are quick to hit the blame button. Angry about potentially not seeing a first round draft pick on the field for back-to-back seasons has left them searching for a scapegoat. Most will somehow pin the loss on Perriman, for some ludicrous reason, while others will look directly at General Manager Ozzie Newsome as the reason why he drafted a player who has yet to play a regular season down in the NFL.
Steve Smith Sr. has never been one to bite his tongue when speaking with the media, and he didn't in this instance either.
"The first thing that comes to my mind is all the bulls--- ass people that are going to have their comments about he's this and he's that," Smith told ESPN .com's Jamsion Hensley. "The injuries he sustained are not injuries [Ravens general manager] Ozzie Newsome saw coming. These are not injuries that you can control. These aren't training injuries.
"These aren't injuries where he's not strong enough or not tough enough. When you slightly tear anything, that requires a lot of treatment and possibly surgery. I feel bad for him as a man because you're going to hear all the naysayers who weren't there, who didn't see what happened and don't really understand you can't control injuries."
Smith Sr. is spot on in this instance, even though I hate to admit that publicly. There is no way Newsome could have seen Perriman potentially tearing an ACL in a non-contact drill during the team's Organized Team Activities leading up to the season, and for that reason fans shouldn't be placing the blame on Newsome, or Perriman, or anyone for that matter.
Injuries happen, and this injury simply highlights the variable about the NFL Draft which is impossible to diagnosis -- the unknown.
As no one saw Perriman being on the injured reserve list as a rookie and possibly as a second year pro, the Pittsburgh Steelers had no way of knowing the speed Dri Archer possessed wouldn't translate into at least a return man spot on the team. Nor did they see the success Limas Sweed had at the University of Texas not translating into even a sliver of success with the Steelers.
The same story could be sung by all 32 NFL teams. Every team has had players who have struggled, failed to make the team or spent more time on the trainer's table than on the gridiron. Fans want someone to blame, and rightfully so, but sometimes there is just no way of doing so. You can't blame someone when it is the unknown which is preventing them from being a contributor to your favorite team.
Fans are upset, but Perriman and the Ravens have to be sick to their stomachs. As the Ravens were preparing for a bolstered wide receiving corps with Smith Sr., Mike Wallace and Perriman, now they could be forced to fill a gaping void in their roster.
Perriman could be a tremendous talent in the NFL, which is why he was selected in the first round, but it seems as if the unknown is keeping him off the field and raising more questions than answers about his ability at the next level.