From left to right: Right tackle Eric Winston, former tight end Mark Bruener, Traci Bruener and Jenny Winston.
EDITOR'S NOTE: HoustonTexans.com is pleased to introduce fans to Jenny Winston, the wife of starting right tackle Eric Winston. She will provide periodic diary entries on a range of topics to give fans a woman's perspective on the NFL and life off the field.
Ladies, imagine planning your husband's retirement party at age 25. I know it may sound totally unrealistic to think about ending a career before some people even land fulltime jobs, but many people don't realize how short an NFL career can be! I did a little research this weekend and learned that according to the National Football Player Association (NFLPA) the average career of an active NFL player is 3.5 years. To me, that limited amount of time is pretty shocking. Can you think of another occupation that tends to begin and end so abruptly!?
I guess that's one of the many reasons why I am so impressed with former Houston Texan Mark Bruener. Mark played for the Pittsburgh Steelers for nine years before retiring after his five-year stint with the Texans. All in all, he managed to fight through 14 strenuous seasons in the NFL before calling it quits at the ripe age of 36. This is ancient in the football world, and I would like to congratulate him on all his success! I am sure his body will be thanking him in August when he is playing golf rather than running into people on a 95-degree practice field during training camp! He certainly deserves it! I'm sure Eric will be thinking of Mark making the turn onto the back nine when he is soaking wet and running 110-yard sprints.
Unfortunately, not all careers end with a player willfully deciding to throw in the towel. In other instances, players suffer career-ending injuries or simply do not make the team roster. Also, players can grow tired of the rigorous training routine and constant battle he must face day in and day out. Football can be an unfair game, and I guess that's why I have never taken any of this NFL experience for granted. I know that everyday Eric's body allows him to do this is a blessing because in the blink of an eye, things can change. I must say, however, that there's nothing in this world that I would want more than for Eric to have a "Mark Bruener Career" - that's for sure!
I am admittedly not one of those wives who can't bear to watch the plays or one who refuses to uncross her fingers until the game clock has ticked to zero. I try to concentrate on the game being played, knowing that what happens during the game is out of my hands. There is nothing I can do from my comfy navy blue seat at Reliant Stadium (except be a great "12th woman" and cheer). I do realize, though, that I am pretty confident in #73 because he tends to be one of the biggest bodies on the field. Most of the time, I worry about my big teddy bear Eric accidentally shoving another player, rather than the opposing team pushing him around!
I would like to applaud Mark Bruener once again for all of his accomplishments. I know he, his wife Traci and his lovely children will have so many great memories of his time in the NFL. I wish them all the best, and they will certainly be missed in Houston!
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this diary entry! Please keep e-mailing any questions so I can include them in future entries! Until next time..GO TEXANS!