Buffalo Bills executive backs off sport 'not for humans' remark

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New York (AFP)

Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley backed off comments saying humans should not play American football, calling his earlier remarks "a poor choice of words" in a statement Wednesday.

Whaley was asked Tuesday on Buffalo radio station WGR-550 if Bills receiver Sammy Watkins is injury-prone. Watkins is expected to be out of pre-season exhibition games with a broken left foot.

"This is the game of football. Injuries are part of it," Whaley said. "It's a violent game that I personally don't think humans are supposed to play."

Concern is growing over the long-term impact of NFL injuries, even with greater awareness of the damage concussions can have upon the human brain and repeated injuries can have upon the bodies of players as they grow older.

But Whaley backed down as the comment drew attention.

"Clearly I used a poor choice of words in my comment yesterday morning," Whaley said in the statement.

"As a former player who has the utmost respect and love for the game, the point that I was trying to make is that football is a physical game and injuries are a part of it.

"Playing football no doubt is very physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging, and that is all part of what make the game so compelling to play and watch. The game has more protection for players now than ever, thanks largely to the safety advancements and numerous rule changes made by our league and promoted to all levels of football.

"I believe our game continues to have a bright future."