It's probably needless to say, but the worst case scenario has become reality for the Browns once again.
Bob Hallen, healthy as a horse less than a week ago, will reportedly announce his retirement before week's end. Back spasms led to tests, which led to a trip to San Diego and more tests, which led to a diagnosis of damaged spinal discs and stenosis, which has apparently led to end of his career.
Hallen was to fill in at center for the Browns, but now the position is thrown into a soup that includes Alonzo Ephraim and Ross Tucker. Expect some fumbled snaps tonight as the Browns open the exhibition season against the Eagles. Better yet, expect Ephraim to spontaneously combust along the lines of a Spinal Tap drummer.
I'd like to compare Hallen's abrupt ride into the sunset to that of Chris Spielman in 1999, but Spielman at least made it to the exhibition season before he called it quits. He was also coming off a neck sprain when the Browns signed him, and they knew the next bit of neck trauma Spielman experienced would probably signal the end of his career.
Hallen, 31, had back problems, but no prior signs of anything career-threatening until a week ago. Now his career is over.
Just out of curiosity, did the Browns build their practice facility on an Indian burial ground or something? This is scary bad. I don't blame any Browns player who feels spooked right now.
Nobody in the Browns organization should chop vegetables. No sawing wood. No motorcycles. No games of darts. Get a trusted individual who doesn't drink to drive you around, and even then, only during daylight hours.
No contact in practice. Come to think of it, no movement. Just sit inside and study film all day. And have someone else plug in the TV and turn it on.
And when you step outside, always, always, always look both ways for oncoming cars, look up to make sure a meteor or chunk of plane fuselage isn't falling, and look down to make sure the ground isn't about to open up and swallow you.
Oh yeah, and lightning. If there's cloudcover of any kind, just stay inside.
If the Browns follow those rules, every player should reduce his chance of a catastrophic injury to at least 70 percent, which is far better than the odds right now.