For Pro Athletes, Injuries Don't Just Happen On The Field

Professional athletes are more likely to get injured during  the season than during the offseason, but that doesn't stop them from trying.

New England Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones and his brother Jon have been joking on Twitter about having a charity mixed martial arts bout. Jon "Bones" Jones also happens to be the UFC's light-heavyweight champion.

Injuries can plague professional athletes on the field, but they aren't immune to off-the-field injuries, and teams try to prevent "preventable" injuries when drawing up an athlete's contract. TMZ spoke with a Patriots PR representative, who confirmed such a fight could void Chandler's contract with the team. Comcast Sportsnet New England also notes that "most NFL contracts have stipulations that protect teams from player injuries that occur off the football field."

Off-field injuries can have on-the-field consequences. Take former MLB second baseman Jeff Kent. While playing for the San Francisco Giants in 2002, Kent injured his wrist while "washing his truck." Upon investigation, the Giants discovered Kent actually hurt his wrist in a motorcycle accident, thereby violating terms in his contract. Kent ended up keeping his job, but missed four games in the regular season.

And the jokes live on:

In 2002, former Denver Broncos quarterback Brian Griese sprained his left ankle after tripping over his dog. Griese only missed a few practices from the injury.

Reilly's other reference is former University of Southern California cornerback Josh Shaw, who sprained his ankles jumping from a balcony window. He first told school officials he jumped to save a nephew from drowning. In reality, Shaw was evading police after getting into an argument with his girlfriend. Both Shaw and his girlfriend deny the argument turned physical.

Unlike Kent, Shaw faced consequences for his deception. He was suspended indefinitely from the team before his reinstatement on Nov. 19. He still has a possible NFL future, having played in the East-West Senior Bowl and is perceived as an intriguing NFL prospect.

Josh Shaw's first game back after his indefinite suspension came in a 38-14 loss to rival UCLA. (Harry How/Getty Images)
Josh Shaw's first game back after his suspension came in a 38-20 loss to rival UCLA. (Harry How/Getty Images)

Former New England Patriots wide receiver Irving Fryar missed playing time in 1986, after a fight with his wife led to his hand getting cut with a knife. Fryar initially claimed the injury was an accident.

Fryar missed the AFC Championship against the Miami Dolphins. The Patriots still went on to win 31-14. Fryar was back for Super Bowl XX, but New England was demolished by the Chicago Bears.

For more examples of athletes getting hurt on their own time, check out ESPN's list of the strangest off-the-field injuries in MLB history.

Professional athletes have a hard enough time staying injury-free on the field. Chandler Jones suffered a hip injury last season, missing six games. And Jon Jones has an upcoming UFC title match against challenger Anthony "Rumble" Johnson. With that in mind, the brothers might have to limit their sparring to Twitter.


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