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You will get hurt

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Vincent from Jacksonville:
: I love your insight on the physicality of the game, but sometimes I think you take it too far. You always say it's a young man's game and it is, but the physical aspects you get jazzed up about and envy is what gets guys crippled for life. How do you feel about this? Are you one of those guys that will use up a player to the bone so later in life he can barely hold a spoon? These guys do have families you know.

Vic: It's football. You will get hurt. Anyone who plays the game accepts that fact. Tony Boselli accepted it when he decided to play the game and he sat in front of us earlier this week and told us of three surgeries on one shoulder that left him barely able to hold his arm high enough to drive his car. I remember when Tony had the first surgery, which left his arm in a cast that was fixed in an extended position. He told me he had to have the same surgery on the other shoulder and I asked why he didn't get both surgeries over with at the same time. He just looked at me and smiled and I quickly understood why it had to be one shoulder at a time. That's football. There's a kind of morbid romance about this game and you don't have to have been a professional football player to understand it. Anybody who played this game at any level has battle scars. Tony is able to golf and swim but all of the cartilage in his left labrum is gone and at age 33 Tony has constant pain in that shoulder and he knows it will only get worse as he gets older. That's football. You don't play this game if you're not willing to make physical sacrifices. Tony has bad knees and ankles that also remind him of his dedication to the game. Yet, Tony played in an era when every effort is being made to preserve players' bodies. Despite those efforts, the message remains the same: It's football. You will get hurt.

Jack from Vancouver, BC:
If bonuses can't be prorated past 2010, does that mean the demise of all the teams who have serious cap problems?

Vic: It'll change in 2007. At that point, teams will be able to amortize bonus money over six years.

Paul from Jacksonville:
I could not disagree with you more about paying big money for clutch kickers such as Adam Vinatieri. How come it's OK in baseball to pay great closers millions for performing a very specific skill in the clutch that wins big games, but it's out of the question to pay a great NFL kicker for doing the exact same thing? One could make a plausible case for Vinatieri being just as valuable to the Patriots' success as Tom Brady was.

Vic: Vinatieri was an undrafted free agent, which is a very common route into the NFL by placekickers. Go find another one. Bill Belichick will. It's what you have to do at that position.

Chris from North Branford, CT:
I thought you said that you like a young team, but you want the Jags to sign Arrington?

Vic: I never said I want the Jaguars to sign Arrington. I was asked if he'd fit in the Jaguars defense and I said he absolutely would. By the way, the issue with Arrington isn't his age, it's the money you'll have to pay him. He's in a sweepstakes situation. He'd represent a heckuva risk and you have to ask yourself, "In a draft deep with linebackers, can I find a player his equal at a much more affordable price?"

Jeff from Fullerton, CA:
What other teams are in a good salary cap situation and have good talent, such as the Jaguars?

Vic: Cincinnati and San Diego immediately come to mind, and I'll take Tom Brady and $20.5 million under the cap.

Jordan from Fayetteville, AR:
I understand the way the Jaguars have structured their salary cap is to be envied, and in no way do I want to change it, but when do you stop spending for the future and win games in the present?

Vic: What you're asking, I think, is when do you say to heck with the future and spend like crazy for the present? My answer is never. It's always about value for the future. If you take care of the future, the future will take care of the present. That's the only way I see to remain competitive year in and year out, and that is, in my opinion, the primary goal.

Dennis from Orlando, FL:
I'm familiar with the franchise tag and what happens if another team signs a franchise player, but I don't know that I've ever heard of another team signing a franchise player. Can you enlighten me?

Vic: Carolina signed Sean Gilbert from the Redskins, and if my memory is correct, Dallas worked a trade with Seattle for Joey Galloway that cost the Cowboys two first-round picks.

Kevin from Jacksonville:
The Cowboys are swinging for the fence, aren't they?

Vic: There's no question about it. The message I get is that Bill Parcells may be a season away from another one of his retirements, and Jerry Jones is out of patience and wants to prove to all of the have-nots what the haves can do when they have the cap room to do it. We'll see.

Kelvin from Warwick, UK:
I've asked this before so I'm hoping you may give an answer the second time. Do you really think Del Rio and Harris apply the BPA theory?

Vic: You can't know the answer to that question without seeing their draft board and draft boards are tightly guarded. I think Byron Leftwich and Matt Jones may have been at the top of the Jaguars' board when they were drafted, but I have doubts Reggie Williams was. We've already gone over this. The Jaguars were in a tough spot when they drafted Williams. They weren't going to draft a quarterback with a top 10 pick for the second year in a row and, yes, they wanted to give Leftwich a young receiver. I don't know why people get so hung up on this.

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