Strong suffered a career-ending back injury on Sunday against Pittsburgh. Fortunately, the injury won’t require surgery and should “get better over time,” but his football days are over.
“There was a herniated disk that pinched my spinal cord,” Strong said. “It wasn’t a stinger. It was a lot more severe than that. It won’t need surgery, thank goodness. It should be something that will get better over time and I’m grateful for that.”
Mack, who attended the Brookstone School in Columbus, quietly had one of the most successful professional careers of any Bulldog. He was in his 14th NFL season in 2007 and had played more games as a Seattle Seahawk than all but one other person. Strong was a two-time Pro Bowl starter (2005 and 2006) and, by reading the local reaction, seems to be beloved in the Pacific Northwest.
Strong reflects on a great career:
I don’t know if I can put it into words. …. ’93 undrafted rookie free agent. …
I feel like I’ve played a couple of careers and I’ve been apart of an incredible team. Lot of memories of coming to this building, and I was just talking to somebody downstairs about all the players that I’ve had relationships with, guys that have come and gone. … Being able to go to the Super Bowl, going to a couple of Pro Bowls, that’s something I never thought of. In ’93 if someone would have told me all that would have been waiting for me at the end of my career, I would have been like, ‘You’re nuts. No way.’ I feel like I’ve been extremely blessed.
I feel very sober about my situation. It’s funny. For the last three years I’ve always known that, OK, at some point you have to move on. You can’t just keep playing a game for a living. But I never quite thought it would end this way, with an injury, I always thought I would be able to call my own shots and I always wanted to do it that way. But it’s OK. I feel very good about that and I feel like it’s an opportunity for me, for other players to raise up and take ownership and leadership of the team and give other players an opportunity to play. I still want to be very much around the organization and apart of the team this year, and do whatever I can to help us win.