Thursday, October 20, 2011

This is an absolutely crazy story

Shortly before Tuesday's NFL trade deadline, the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles agreed to a swap of backup running backs in what appeared to be a fairly standard, unremarkable transaction. The Eagles' Ronnie Brown for the Lions' Jerome Harrison, plus a future draft pick. No big deal, nothing earth-shattering.

When news broke last night that the deal had been nixed because Harrison had failed his physical, it was again unsurprising news. Football players, especially running backs, take quite a beating, and I of course assumed that Harrison had something wrong with his knee or ankle. Um, no. Turns out this was far from a standard failed physical.
As Philadelphia Eagles doctors were giving newly acquired running back Jerome Harrison his physical, they discovered a brain tumor that nullified a trade with the Detroit Lions, according to two league sources.
The trade might have actually saved Harrison's life, the sources said. Without the deal being made, Harrison would not have undergone a physical. The tumor is now being treated, according to sources...
Harrison is not expected to play again this season, but his long-term prognosis both for life and his football career appear to be good, sources said. He is visiting with more doctors Thursday.
Wow. I'm often remarking that while we all like to think of ourselves as being in control of our own lives and our own fate, this is of course far from the case. Our lives and what becomes of them are often as much a case of lucky accidents and flukes of timing as they are a result of our conscious actions and decisions. The Jerome Harrison case is a particularly extreme example of the often significant power of serendipity in our lives.

Had Lions starting running back Jahvid Best not gotten hurt last week, the Harrison trade likely would never have occurred, and Harrison would not have had a physical. The early detection may in fact have a huge impact on how he is able to treat and recover from this tumor, and how his life proceeds from here.

This kind of stuff blows my mind. It's scary sometimes to think how events we can't control can shape our lives, but in this case we (hopefully) have a happy ending to share.


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