The Browns didn’t get a quarterback in the first round, but they did get the player who might be the best athlete in the class.
After trading down from the No. 12 spot, the Browns selected Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers with the 25th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Peppers tested positive for a dilute sample at the NFL Combine in March and could be subject to NFL discipline before he can make his regular-season debut if the league deems the positive result a violation of the NFL’s policy against drugs.
Buoniconti detailed how he estimated he took 520,000 hits to the head and that MRI tests over the past two years have revealed brain shrinkage and other brain abnormalities.
“I feel lost,” he said. “I feel like a child.”
It’s a far cry from the former life of the Dolphins co-captain, a sturdy linebacker who led Miami to three Super Bowls in a row. He was an eight-time Pro Bowler, a two-time Super Bowl champion and capped off his successful NFL career with a stint in broadcasting and business.
But his world changed when his son, Marc, dislocated his neck playing college football at The Citadel in 1985. He was paralyzed from the neck down, and Buoniconti felt that God was punishing him.
However, he became a pillar for the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, helping raise millions of dollars for the cause. At that time he was feeling great. But over the past two years he has felt the effects of constantly being hit in the head.
“I didn’t have any idea the price would be this debilitating,” Buoniconti said. “Had I known, would I have played? I had no alternative; there was no other way for me to get a college education.
“Football kept rewarding me — I can’t deny that. But I’m paying the price. Everybody pays the piper.”