Many of us watched former All-Pro running back Priest Holmes slice through defenses for years, but we never saw the game through his eyes.
Holmes says he suffered multiple head-to-head shots during his days with the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs. Many of those hits left him dizzy. Some left him seeing colors, stars -- other worlds.
"This color obviously isn't going to be blue. It can be a color that can be orange. It can be red. The sky could turn green," Holmes recently told Chris Corbellini of FOXSports.com. "There's even an episode where you see a clear light, like light at the end of the tunnel."
Priest Holmes acknowledged he didn't worry about his health during the prime of his NFL career. He'd reached a mountaintop, finally making a living at football. There's little desire to face the consequences when you're rolling.
Now he has no choice.
"The frontal headaches, the migraines," Holmes said. "Laying in bed, it's tough to get out mornings just because of the pain that is setting in with an arthritic condition, it's things like that that you never would have really thought about."
Players are speaking openly -- and with more frequency than ever before -- about the violent nature of professional football. As lawsuits from former players crop up, the NFL tells us repeatedly that safety is a primary concern.
It's disquieting for today's athletes to hear these stories -- to have to ask themselves what's down the road. This one can't be swept away. There isn't a bigger issue facing the future of the game.