TAMPA — Gerald McCoy and Brian Price, drafted 32 picks apart in 2010, were supposed to anchor the interior of the next great Bucs defense.
McCoy has gone on to earn All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors. Price, however, is now coping with life after football.
A video published this week by a Michigan television station shows police confronting the former lineman outside an auto parts store in April. During the exchange, Price, 28, suddenly charges toward the store's glass door and dives through it. As if nothing happened, he walks away from the shards of glass and lies down in the parking lot.
Price's wife, Candice, blames his behavior that day on chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a degenerative brain condition. A recent study by neuropathologist Dr. Ann McKee found that the brains of 110 of 111 former NFL players examined showed signs of the disease, which researchers say is caused by repetitive head trauma.
McCoy talked Friday about his concern for Price's well-being.
"Just to see that, it hurts you to your heart," he said. "If (CTE) is the case, it is scary. It'd be a lie to say this CTE is not scary."
Price played in Tampa Bay in 2010 and 2011. His time with the Bucs was marred by injuries and reports of a fight with teammate Mark Barron in May 2012. In July, the team traded Price to the Bears, who cut him before the season started.
McCoy said that though he does his best to protect himself from head injuries, it's ultimately his choice to play football.
"When you sign up to play this game, you know what you're signing up for," he said. "All you can do is live it day by day and try to protect yourself the best you can. We have a great medical staff. They don't take any chances with us."
Despite the risk, McCoy, a father of four young children, said he won't necessarily discourage them from playing football.
"When it comes to my kids, if they want to play football, then play football," he said. "If they don't, then they don't. I'm going to let them decide what they want to do. I will be cautious about it and let them know, 'Hey, look, there is a risk in doing this.' "
On Thursday — two days after the release of the CTE study — Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel announced he was retiring at age 26 after three seasons. "There's no big story here," he said on Twitter, but the Baltimore Sun and ESPN said his decision was related to the study.
Bucs left tackle Donovan Smith said he was shocked to hear that Urschel, his teammate at Penn State from 2011 through 2013, planned to walk away from the NFL.
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"It definitely did catch me offguard," Smith said, "but I'm pretty sure it's for a good reason."
Smith said that though the CTE study findings were unsettling, his focus is on the present and the season ahead.
"Nobody's forcing us to be out here," he said. "Obviously, everything's a choice. It's unfortunate, but hey, we love the game, and we're going to continue to come out here and play."
Contact Thomas Bassinger at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @tometrics.