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Jerome Harrison's Brain Tumor: A Timeline of How It Was Found


Jerome Harrison now joins of the ranks of "guys who learned they had brain tumors because of football."

The last example of this was the famous Tony Gonzalez hit on then unknown photographer Mickey Pfleger. The hit knocked Pfleger unconscious and because he went to the hospital and had a brain scan, doctors discovered an enormous brain tumor and were able to catch it in time. In other words, the Tony Gonzalez hit saved Pfleger's life.

And now we have a similar situation with Jerome Harrison, who may have just had his life saved because of a physical performed during the Harrison for Ronnie Brown trade (which is now voided.)

A lot of dominoes had to fall for the life-saving Jerome Harrison for Ronnie Brown trade. So let's look at a few of the details and history that needed to happen for this trade to take place, and hence, for doctors to find Jerome Harrison's brain tumor and save his life.

7. Kevin Smith Tears His ACL In 2009
If the Lions starting running back at the time hadn't torn his ACL at the end of 2009, then Detroit probably wouldn't have made a point of trading up to go after Jahvid Best to replace him. (Why they went after an injury-prone back to fill the role of an injured back is another argument for another time.)

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6. Jahvid's Concussions Drop Him In The 2010 Draft
Jahvid Best was supposed to be the next Chris Johnson. A super fast track star who could make guys miss and take it to the house on any given play. But after suffering two concussions in college one against Arizona State and another against Oregon State), his draft stock fell. Hard. Originally thought to be an early to mid first rounder, his injuries scared teams off and he fell to the end of the first round. The Lions traded up to get the 30th pick in the first round to snatch up Best (they took Ndamukong Suh with the second overall pick.) If NFL teams weren't concerned about Best's injuries, he would have gone much higher, giving the Lions no chance at drafting him.

5. The Lions Draft Jahvid Best in 2010
Considered an injury risk coming out of Cal, Best seemed like he was a concussion away from happening in the new NFL. After suffering a couple concussions in college (one of them was brutal), combined with the NFL's increased concerns about player's concussions in recent years, Jahvid is one of the biggest running back injury concerns in the league. If the Lions opt for a more sturdy back, then the dominoes that fell into place for the Harrison deal has a far smaller chance of happening.

4. Mikel LeShoure's Tears His Achilles In the 2011 Preseason
Mikel LeShoure was supposed to be the back-up for Jahvid Best. And if he doesn't go out for the season with a torn achilles in the preseason, the Lions don't sign Jerome Harrison (who played for the Eagles last year) to play the role of back-up on Detroit.

3. Jerome Harrison and Ronnie Brown's Poor Play in 2011
Let's face it, if Harrison had been playing great, the Lions would have never traded him. And the same goes for Ronnie Brown and the Eagles. The Detroit Free Press had labeled the running game behind Best a "downer" and "unimpressive." The only reason this trade was made, was that Harrison played for the Eagles last year, so he knows the system. The Lions were hoping a change of scenery and offensive scheme would help Brown, while the Eagles were hoping the same for Harrison, who had played sparingly, but pretty well for them last year.

2. The Lions Played the 49ers in Week 6
To further the point about Best's concussion, the fact they were playing the 49ers seemed to increase Best's chances of getting hurt. According to the Mercury News: The 49ers have a history of knocking running backs out of games in the fourth quarter this year. In addition to Best, they've also hurt Tampa's LeGarrette Blount and Dallas' Felix Jones. If the Lions were playing another team, Best may have not suffered a concussion and the Harrison-Brown trade may have never happened.

1. Jahvid Best's Concussion in Week 6
It's ironic that a brain tumor was found because of a head injury to another player. But that's the case here. If Jahvid Best doesn't suffer a concussion in the 4th quarter of the Lions loss to the 49ers, then this trade never happens. The only reason the Harrison for Brown trade took place was that the ions thought Ronnie Brown was a better insurance policy than Harrison if Best ended up missing the rest of the season. The mandatory physical this trade caused found the tumor in Jerome Harrison's brain. Doctors think they have caught it so early that he will not only recover fully, but that he may be able to play again.

In summary, Jerome Harrison may have had his life saved because Kevin Smith tore his ACL in 2009, which caused the Lions to draft running back Jahvid Best in 2010. The Lions were able to draft Best because his draft stock fell due to his own concussions. When Mikel LeShoure tore his achilles, the Lions signed Harrison to back-up Best, who suffered his second concussion of the year when the Lions played the 49ers--a team who has a history of knocking running backs out of games. With the injury-prone Best's future in question this season, the Lions attempted to swap the poor playing Harrison for the equally poor playing Brown, causing the physical that found his tumor.