The scouting season for free agency and the draft is a time when players are asked a common question: Do you love football?
“I don’t think a lot of these guys love football, to be honest,” Cameron told ESPN. “A lot of them don’t. You play for other reasons, and every guy has their own reason. They know why, and as long as your why is really important you keep playing without really loving football.
“Because really, who loves to get hit in 10-degree weather by a 280-pound person? Really, no one likes that. ‘Do you love football?’ I couldn’t stand when people asked me that.”
Cameron, who went to the Pro Bowl in 2013, wasn’t saying that because of his concussions, though he admitted the constant thought of them changed the way he played. Cameron admitted he played more timid because he thought about his concussions.
“You’re playing physical and you’re playing an intense, violent game,” Cameron said. “You have to gear yourself up for that, but it’s hard to gear yourself up if you’re thinking about getting hit or what the implications might be.”
Cameron said he appreciates what the game gave him, and there were facets of it he enjoyed, especially the competition. He also had special thoughts for many of his teammates, with whom he still has a bond.
“Some of the best people I have ever met have been football players,” Cameron said. “Every single guy talks about the locker room and how that’s the thing they will miss. It’s so true. Some of the most down-to-earth, intelligent human beings are in there.”
But though he loved his teammates, he can’t look back and say he loved the game.
“Do you really love football?” he said. “A lot of guys don’t really love it. There’s a few guys that love it. Ray Lewis loves football. Peyton Manning. They love it. But a lot of guys don’t really love this game, and there are players that will read this who will understand exactly what I’m talking about.”