NFL's Pollard: I Don't Want My Son Playing Football

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June 10 (Bloomberg) -- Tennessee Titans safety Bernard Pollard discusses how he came up with the idea for the Smart Tray, his entrepreneurial desires and concussions in the NFL with Pimm Fox on "Taking Stock." (Source: Bloomberg)

Did you come up with the idea that as you travel in hotels around the world, you need a little tray, you need some help in order to organize all the stuff that you cart with you?

When i was in baltimore, it was the year before we won the super bowl.

So just kind of traveling week in and week out, had no space and i tend to carry a lot of things in my cosmetic bag, a lot of guys mess with me about it but i had no space -- really?

We'd be surprised if we looked in that bag what there would be.

You'd be surprised but i never had any space and wanted to come up with something.

I started sketching things out and ended up with the tray.

You sketched something out, you tell yourself, all right, i need something, i'm going to be able to make it portable.

What's your first step?

Who do you talk to?

How do you get it actually made into a prototype to even test it?

First and foremost, when i sketched it out, it didn't look the part, it looked like a urinal that you use in hospitals for pee or whatever.

So i had to hire an artist.

He came in.

That's good.

Because the other one doesn't seem like it would work.


So i hired an artist.

He came in, drew some things up.

About four mockups.

We finally came up with one we liked and went on to the process of getting the prototypes and after the prototypes, starting filing for the patents.

Did you test this out?

Did you give it to your teammates?

Did you say, hey, look, guys, i'm going into the tray business?

I actually sent it to a couple hospitals.

Just to allow them to be able to see it and use it.

They wouldn't be able to use it with the patients because of the bacteria and everything else being transferred in the hospitals, but they looked at that time, a couple nurses liked it.

So we just went ahead and went with it.

Obviously being in college and in the pros, in our dorms we had pencil sinks everywhere.

That's a good connection, now we can talk about your football career right now.

We were talking before you came on that you are recognized as being one of the most dynamic and hardest-hitting players in the nfl.

And one of the biggest topic notice nfl is concussions.

What do you think?

The only way you're going take that off is if you wear legislator hats or take the shoulder pads off.

A lot of times it's not even the helmet-to-helmet contact.

It's the contact when the player goes down to the ground.

I know i was fined a lot of money for me hitting a player legal and he hit the ground, his head bounced off the ground and he had a concussion.

I was fined wither -- i was fined for.

That we have to hone in on that and fix those mistakes.

We have a panel out there making rules and it's not for the defense.

Is there also an element of the kind of grass you're playing on?

Whether you're playing in different conditions, whether the grass is going to mess up your speed, your knee, your running, all these things?

It really doesn't matter what you play on because you've got some fields that have turf, some fields that they play on grass.

A lot of times when you play in december, it doesn't matter what you're playing on because it's going to be hard anyway.

I just think it's just a physical game.

It's a violent game.

This is what our fans love, this is why this is a $15 billion, $20 billion industry.

And they're going to continue to grow and i think -- think it will last for 30 years?

I knew i had to give you that one.

Maybe you can change it.

Players are getting bigger, faster, stronger, quicker year in and year out.

It's just one of them things where the hits are going to continue.

The thing we haven't seen yet which we don't want to see is a player die on the field at national football league level.

We haven't seen it but i feel like it's going to come to that.

It's progressing.

As far as the bigger, stronger, faster, players are just learning it seems their own specific skill sets over and over again.

That trend just going to get bigger too?


You have to look at the parents, you have to look at parents who are paying high dollar for their kids, 7-year-olds, 8-year-olds, 9-year-olds, sending them to camps to hone in on their skills with individual teachers that are working how to throw that ball, how to hold that ball, how to run around corners and everything else.

And you've got trainers who are teaching these kids how to be specific withs muscle group or whatever.

This is going to be phenomenal.

It's phenomenal but at the same time it's kind of scary.

If you were advising parents of young children, what would you tell them about playing the game and getting interested?

My son, i don't want him to play but -- you don't? no.

I will not allow him to play.

I think when he gets to high school, allow him to make that decision for himself or whatever.

But as of right now, he plays flag.

I'll let him play flag but no contact at all.

For the parents, your mothers and fathers, they have to see you go through those injuries.

I've been injured, thank god it hasn't been anything to the ex tents of keeping me out, but i've seen parents have to go through that with their kids, torn a.c.l.'s or concussions or long-term issues after they played the game.

And i don't want to see that with my children.

I want to thank you very much for spending time with me.

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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