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Duane Brown was never planning to sit out, and I’m not surprised at all

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, we heard from Duane Brown for the first time since his contract was reworked. Brown confirmed what I and many other Seahawks fans suspected: that he never intended to sit out any regular season games as a result of his contract dispute.

In the presser, Brown stated that his main motivation for deciding not to miss games was how painful it would have been to sit out. But there was clearly another key dynamic at play here that isn’t always an issue for other players in hold-ins: Brown’s age.

Brown is 36 years old. At most, he has four seasons left in him, and at that age, sitting one of his final few dozen games hurts more on a personal level than it would when he was in his 20s. It also hurts on a financial level. If Brown was to sit, he would have lost the valuable opportunity to show another team that was willing to pay him that he could still be productive.

Younger players usually employ the opposite logic. Since they have many years left in the tank (and therefore the chance to make a lot more money), the opportunity to prove their worth on the field does not outweigh the risk of career-altering injury. In fact, this is one of the reasons I think Jamal Adams would have sat out had his contract situation not worked out (despite what he says).

Brown does not have to worry about injury. He’s only getting one more multi-year contract, so playing and getting hurt would give him a similar result to sitting out: a lot less money, and no game time. In reality, reaching a compromise (which Brown made clear he was somewhat unhappy with), and playing was his only true option to maximize his potential to make money. After all, was any team going to give him a new contract worth more than what the Seahawks would pay had he sat out this year? The answer is no. Many thought he would retire last year, and it’s clear that teams around the league (including Seattle) don’t see him having the same end to his career that Andrew Whitworth of the L.A. Rams has had.

So, where does this leave us? Brown insists he’s focused on the upcoming season, and whether that’s for personal reasons, his commitment to a teammates, or the likely combination of both, I don’t care. What matters is that he’s on the field, protecting Russell Wilson, and should he prove that he is still worth paying, I hope John Schneider doesn’t let him walk.