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Ask a former NFL player: How do you play right after seeing someone get hurt?

In this week’s mailbag, Geoff Schwartz takes a look at the cold business of the NFL, which teams might trade for Trent Williams, and Cam Newton’s vegan diet.

Eagles players kneel in front of injured cornerback Avonte Maddox
Avonte Maddox and Jamaal Williams are both OK after suffering scary-looking injuries in the Eagles-Packers game.

All right folks, it’s time for the weekly mailbag! We finally got an awesome Thursday Night Football game. The Eagles are back in the hunt for the NFC East and the Packers, despite losing, still have a great chance to make the playoffs.

Before we get to the mailbag, here’s my weekly reminder to send your questions to me on Twitter or Instagram. OK, here we go.

What’s it like playing immediately after someone suffers a major injury? — @bearsforfears

Great question, and it’s one many asked after seeing Packers running back Jamaal Williams and Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox get boarded off the field Thursday night. Thankfully, it appears both of them will be fine — which is how we play after seeing injuries happen. More often than not, these players being carted off end up being OK, and that gives us peace of mind in the moment.

However, I’d say the biggest reason we play after someone gets injured is we are conditioned for it. In practice, especially during training camp, if a player gets hurt, the drill continues. “Move the drill” is yelled out by the head coach and everyone just moves to the next field as the injured player is being tended to by the athletic trainers. It’s a cold business, folks. The game continues without the injured player.

So, when a player is carted off the field, we just put our helmets on, go back to work, and hope for the best.

Do you think the Browns need to trade for Trent Williams, and would it be worth the first-rounder and possibly more they may have to give up to get him? — @MaxLogterman

There are plenty of teams that could use Trent Williams’ services, including his own team, but that doesn’t seem likely to happen. Yes, trading for Williams is worth a first-round pick, but I’m not sure the Browns will pull the trigger.

First off, like I detailed earlier this week, the Browns’ offensive line isn’t as awful as some think it is. Secondly, Greg Robinson got a small raise to play left tackle this season. I don’t think the Browns would bail on that contract so soon. If you trade for Williams, it’s most likely a rental. The Browns aren’t a left tackle away from winning the Super Bowl, so trading a first-round pick in that case doesn’t make much sense.

It feels like teams are waiting for injuries, or just a general lack of great play in their left tackles, before deciding to make a move for Williams. For example, the Patriots are out their left tackle for another two months, so they signed Marshall Newhouse. He’s filling in well, but if Isaiah Wynn misses more time than expected, I can see the Patriots making a play. If the 49ers determine Joe Staley is out longer, maybe they go after Williams. We shall see.

Do you think all the talk about Cam Newton going vegan and his recent decline is related to his diet? — @K1llaKobe

I believe this question is in response to this Charlotte Observer article. Look, y’all can read the article and make a determination for yourself. Do I think being a vegan directly led to his foot injury? No. Do I think being a vegan could affect his ability to recover and rehab as fast as usual? Possibly, but I’m not a nutritionist.

This is a tough subject because you can find plenty of articles that highlight how NFL players have made the switch to a plant-based diet and it’s been helpful. You can also find just as many stories about players who made the switch, then immediately got injured and took longer than usual to recover. I’m not sure there’s an answer.