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The Shame of Primes: If Only Mental and Physical Overlapped

HOUSTON - AUGUST 28:  Wide receiver Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys before the preseason game against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on August 28 2010 in Houston Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON - AUGUST 28: Wide receiver Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys before the preseason game against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on August 28 2010 in Houston Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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The NFL is an exciting game filled with some of the world's best athletes. Most of these players are in their prime, physically, which is why they're able to make the spectacular look easy. I often have to stop and realize that an overwhelming majority of the guys playing the game today are actually younger than I am. I guess I tend to see professional athletes as older than me still...possibly left over from childhood awe.

Of course, the flip-side of a league filled with mostly twenty-something men is what we've seen this off-season, and continue to see every year: immaturity, problems with the law, lack of discipline, lack of dedication to the craft, etc.

The fact remains that these guys are fresh out of college, where most of them had their lives planned-out for them, managed, they just had to show up. Now they're spending the majority of their time following the NFL regimen, again having their lives spelled-out to an extent.

Add to that they're predominantly hanging out with other twenty-somethings who are of similar mindset...and you can see why there can be issues with maturity at times. It's kinda funny, and it got me thinking: it's almost too bad that our physical peak-years couldn't coincide with our mental and emotional peak-years.

Imagine if Terrell Owens had the mind he has now, the wisdom, but the body he had in his 20's? What if Ricky Williams could go back now and step back into that body he had when he came out of college?

More after the jump.

It's a shame, really. In a way we have guys who aren't completely what they could be if they had the mind of an older man. The ideal professional athlete would have the dedication, their own dedication, not just showing up to tons of meetings and practices...or being instructed to study the playbook, having pop-quizzes on it, etc. But what if they treated football like an ascending business professional treats his career?

When you want to move up in the world you take it upon yourself to do whatever it takes, even if that's extra work after-hours, reading and researching on your own time. It's truly important to you and you know what needs to be done.

I think about older gentlemen I know and how they've got it all together. They have a routine of things that they've found get's everything done properly, and they really spend time making sure things are done right. These are the guys who take things apart so they can clean them, lubricate moving parts, change worn parts, etc. They clean in the corners and have a place for everything. They put in the time, all the time.

Imagine what kind of potential these guys would have if they had this type of personality to go along with the body of a 22 year old super-athlete? How many players do we see with loads of talent, yet they can't live life without getting into trouble?

The Dez Bryant's who have to have babysitters, who are wasting potential, who may never be who they could have been. The Daniel Thomas', late to team functions, out of dress-code, etc. Taking life as seriously as a twenty-something often does.

Now I'm not "hating" on the mindset of twenty-somethings. Lord knows I don't even have MY life together yet, and I'm 34. When I was in my 20's...well, let's just say I'm lucky to be alive...many times over. I'd like to go back and slap myself some times. Of course, this is all part of life and perhaps we wouldn't BE who we end up to be without those experiences.

Still, I feel for the older players, the older men in general...who could do so much more were just their bodies younger and more spry. And the young ones who could soar to greater heights if only they had the wisdom it takes years to gain.