Chronicles of a White Linebacker: Episode II – Taking a Year Off

Ben Leber is an underrated outside staple of a strong linebacking crew for the Minnesota Vikings. Chad Greenway holds anchor opposite him with speed and tenacity. Heath Farwell is a special teams demon that flies down the field on kick off returns looking to spear his shiny white head through someone’s abdomen. Together, these three versatile and exceptional linebackers form the White Squalor Defense on the Minnesota Vikings. We continue the Chronicles of a White Linebacker series by sitting down with them and discussing an unfortunate staple of the NFL; the dreaded year off due to injury. For most, it’s a devastating event. But for the White Squalor Defense it’s something different. Read on …


Chad Greenway: You know, guys, I’m really excited for this upcoming year of football. I can’t begin to explain to you how awesome it was for me, personally, to finally get back on the field after taking a year off when I had my injury. There’s nothing like mixing it back up on the field, hitting some people, and enjoying that camaraderie between teammates.

Heath Farwell: I know what you mean. It just broke my heart last year when I went down so early in the season with my knee injury and had to take so much time off. Even getting out there in training camp these past few weeks has been so refreshing … I could never have predicted how much I would miss this game.

Ben Leber: I know what you guys mean, but I do have regret about my injury.

CG: Really? How? What do you mean? Your injury didn’t keep you out all season when you were with the Chargers, so you got to stick around the game. How is that a bad thing?

BL: Well, because it wasn’t season long, I didn’t get to take that time off to really experience the world. In reality, I’ve never had that “time off” that white people really like.

HF: Oh, I get it. So, you were injured in San Diego, and probably excited because you naturally thought that it meant time off for you to explore who you were, or maybe pick up a life changing second job somewhere through your travels, right?

BL: Exactly! Instead, I found myself sitting on the sidelines while Shawne Merriman took my job anyway. I mean, if he was going to play my position, why not just put me on injured reserve anyway and let me travel to Thailand or New Zealand or something? I could have been a bartender down under for like three months. Instead, I did a bunch of water training to rehab my injury. Like the injury wasn’t stressful enough, I didn’t even get a chance to blow off some steam by seeing the world.

CG: That’s why when you feel yourself going down or potentially getting injured, you just got to twist that knee one final degree to make sure that maximum damage is done. That’s what Culpepper did to get himself a break, but … I don’t know why he’d do that, he’s not a white guy that enjoys time off like that.


HF: No, he’s not. And really, I heard he just hung out in a Wal-Mart parking lot with his time off, doing wind sprints or something. What kind of sabbatical story is that? I mean, I could tell you guys all about how last year when I wasn’t playing how I traveled to Hangzhou, China to teach English to small children for a semester, or how I then made my way through the mountains in Nepal looking for a Sherpa, but what would Daunte tell you about? His high jump over a shopping cart? Was he doing a social experiment? I don’t get it …

BL: Wow, that sounds like a great trip. I wish I cou …

CG: Yeah, or I could tell you about how during my year off I went and did that bar tending gig in New Zealand for a while and then spent some time with a travel group on Australia as we hiked through the deserts with literally the bare essentials. I mean, I could totally just write an entire book about my experiences! But what would Culpepper write about? White haired old ladies buying depends? It was such a wasted experience for him.

BL: Well, I did do a lot of rehab when I was injured, but I also got to go to the beach once in San Diego and I …


HF: But I think the best thing I did in China was just walk the streets with the locals, eat street food, and totally just blend in. Whenever I’d have a weekend off from teaching English, I’d just explore the city and see some really awe inspiring scenes, and then some stupid tourist would just walk into this picturesque moment and ruin everything.

CG: Ugh, the tourists are the worst. They destroy the entire moment and almost pull me out of me life changing reprieve. Luckily though, for me when I was in Australia you know, their appearance wasn’t enough to ruin my entire trip.

BL: We would have tourists in San Diego all the time, because it was sunny and …


HF: Tourists could never really blend in. Neither could some of our other teammates. I’ve seen that Dhani Jones show, Dhani Tackles the Globe, and while it’s neat that he gets to let loose and travel the world but …

CG: Yup, he just doesn’t do it right. I don’t know what it is. It’s like he doesn’t take the time to really immerse himself into the culture. Maybe he needs to think about writing a book about his TV show. That might change his mindset.

HF: Totally.

BL: Fuck this, I’m breaking my legs this season.


About PJD

I once saw Paul Edinger kick a 56-yard field goal for the Minnesota Vikings against the Green Bay Packers to win a game in the Metrodome. It was exhilarating.