Breer: 'Hard Knocks' regrets?
In a wide-ranging notes column, Albert Breer talks to Miami coach Joe Philbin about his "Hard Knocks" experience. More ...
Sometimes, however, we're reminded of what an absolutely brutal business football can and it still hits us like a punch to the gut.
Defensive tackle Isaako Aaitui was one of the featured storylines in the show's finale. He spent last year on Miami's practice squad, an undrafted free agent from UNLV that made a late run at a roster spot with Miami before coming just short. The Miami Dolphins were hoping to put him on the practice squad again, but the New York Jets claimed him off waivers.
It was a moment of mixed emotions for Aaitui. He had to leave his beautiful children behind, pack his boxes, quickly, leave his friends, and join a new team. But he had made an NFL roster, which is an incredible achievement.
Here comes the depressing part: Aaitui tore his anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament in his first practice with the Jets according to Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post. The Jets promptly waived him. They will not have to pay him any money because his contract had an injury waiver in it.
Players know what they are getting into when they join the NFL. Every once in a while, a story like this pops up that makes you wonder whether it's right how we treat guys like Aaitui. Whether we can do better.
These are the sort of questions that are long forgotten after the opening kick.