The Cautionary Tale of Kevin Belcher

You know who Kevin Belcher is, right?

Right?Kevin Belcher

Belcher was the 153rd player chosen in the 1983 NFL Draft, the draft that is well-known for having possibly the best crop of quarterbacks ever in one draft. Belcher was an offensive lineman coming out of Texas-El Paso when he was selected in the sixth round by the New York Giants.

Belcher saw action in all 16 of the Giants’ games in 1983, a season where the team went 3-12-1 and nearly cost new coach Bill Parcells his job. Belcher was the starting center in 1984, and even had a four-yard pass reception in a 31-21 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Dec. 9.

But before the 1985 season, Belcher’s career ended when he got in a car accident that exposed nerves. The Giants struggled to replace him until they acquired Bart Oates from the Philadelphia Stars of the USFL.

Belcher’s brief career is relevant today because history may be repeating itself. The Giants recently acquired safety Chad Jones in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Jones, a two-sport star out of LSU, was hyped as a talented player who would bring much-needed depth at the safety position, a luxury the Giants sorely missed in 2009.

“I think right at the end of the OTA’s, (Jones) was starting to emerge and doing things very well on special teams and in the secondary,” Giants coach Coughlin said after New York’s recent mandatory minicamp.

But Jones’s career met the figurative and literal obstacle, as his SUV crashed into a pole Friday morning in New Orleans. Two passengers in the car walked away with minor injuries, but Jones wasn’t as fortunate. He reportedly fractured his left leg, and left arteries and nerves exposed. He underwent surgery in the late morning to return blood flow to his foot, and doctors now believe that he won’t have to lose the foot.

It may seem insensitive to speculate on Jones’s career at this point, but let’s be honest. Hundreds or thousands of people get in accidents every day, yet you’re reading about this one because who he is. Whether you’re a LSU student or alumni, a Giants fan, a football fan, or just a sports fan, you’re reading this because it’s Chad Jones.

Like Belcher, it’s hard to imagine Jones playing another down in the NFL. His foot is/was in danger of being amputated, and his had ARTERIES and NERVES exposed. Frankly, it’s a miracle he’s not dead.

Which brings us back to Belcher. In 2003, 18 years after his accident, Belcher passed away due to “undisclosed reasons.”  It may have been something completely unrelated, or perhaps it’s due to complications from the accident. We really don’t know. But it’s curiously coincidental enough to state that while his career is probably over, we can only hope and pray for Jones’s continuing recovery.