It’s a scary injury.
Back in the NFL’s second week, Kansas City tight end Kevin Boss left the field after taking a shot to the helmet by Bills safety D’Norris Searcy.
With a history of concussions, doctors would not clear the former Philomath High standout to play the rest of this season.
“It’s been really tough … it’s definitely been a struggle mentally and physically,” Boss said Wednesday via telephone from Kansas City. “Not being out there and helping out, especially with the way we’re struggling right now, it’s even more difficult to not be a part of it. You can’t get out there to help your buddies, help your teammates. It’s been a struggle for me.”
Boss, 28, signed a three-year, $9 million contract with the Chiefs in March and caught a TD pass in the season opener against the Falcons. Kansas City is his third stop in the NFL with his most notable play coming from 2007-10 with the Giants. He spent last season with the Raiders.
In his career, Boss has 150 receptions for 2,033 yards and 22 touchdowns, and who could forget that 45-yarder with the Giants that set up a touchdown in Super Bowl XLII?
But it’s that most recent catch that is sadly at the forefront now.
“I jumped up to catch a pass and came down to the ground and he came in and hit me,” Boss said about Searcy’s hit. “It’s one of those things that happens in football and unfortunately, it’s happened to me too many times now.”
Concussions have been in the news at all levels of football and despite his disappointment, Boss said he understands the decision to hold him out the rest of the season.
The Chiefs asked Boss to stay involved with the team and he has been there to help bring along the team’s young tight ends. Boss admits helping out is also good for his own sanity.
“It’s tough … it was taken away so quickly. You not only miss the game, but miss the everyday (routine) Monday through Saturday, being in the locker room with the guys, spending not as much time together,” he said. “It feels like you’ve almost been forgotten about for that season.”
Boss has been able to keep his mind busy with other things going on in his life. For one, he’s now the father of a 2-month-old son.
“It’s been a great distraction for me, to help take my mind off my professional life,” Boss said. “My family life, my personal life, has been a blessing.”
Boss flew to Oregon a few weekends ago to take part in Western Oregon University’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
“I’ve got a lot of fond memories of going to school at Western Oregon,” said Boss, who also played basketball. “I enjoyed the small- school atmosphere and to be able to get back and be a part of that and be there for it was really special for me and my whole family.”
C.A. Rath, who coached Boss in high school, introduced him at the ceremony.
“When I first found out (about the honor), I was in training camp … and with the ceremony in October, I was pretty bummed that I wouldn’t be able to attend,” Boss said. “But with my unfortunate circumstances with this season, I was able to go.”
While back in his home state, Boss was able to catch the Warriors defeat Newport, 39-7.
“I hadn’t seen them play in probably 10 years, since my freshman year in college,” he said. “I was able to speak to the team before the game. It was really fun to see them. I told the coach I’d be back to watch them play for the state championship.”
Boss feels a special connection to his high-school days at Philomath. A tight end and defensive end, the Warriors were a playoff-caliber team but he said they never got real deep in the postseason.
“My fondest memories are playing with the kids you grow up with, playing in front of your hometown. Friday night lights, that’s when football is in its purest form and the most enjoyable,” he said.
“I now play the game at the highest level, but the time I enjoyed playing the most was definitely in high school.”
Brad Fuqua is a copy editor and sports writer for the Corvallis Gazette-Times. He can be reached at email@example.com.