She brings former Colts cornerback Kelvin Hayden into the conversation, as he had a similar procedure in the offseason.
“Dr. Joseph Maroon, who is vice chairman and professor of neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, as well as team neurosurgeon for the Pittsburgh Steelers and medical director for the WWE, has extensive experience with these types of surgeries in this population of athletes. Maroon has performed this ACDF on at least 10 professional football players and wrestlers, all of whom returned to competition. Examples include wrestler John Cena, who returned to the ring within two months after surgery, as well as former NFL players Ruben Brown and Mike Alstott, who both played for several years after their surgeries. In an interesting note, cornerback Kelvin Hayden, recently signed by the Atlanta Falcons after spending the past six seasons with the Colts, underwent a similar procedure in the offseason. Hayden had to pass the Falcons' physical to join the team, and as he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "My neck is fine. … It's something that everybody was questioning. I'm just glad the Atlanta Falcons gave me an opportunity. I'm just excited to get out there and have some fun. I want to show that I can still play."
I confess Hayden’s surgery was news to me. The Colts cut him because he was scheduled for a big base salary, even though doing so didn’t save them much in terms of the cap. Perhaps the surgery factored in, too. If Jacob Lacey turns out to be a weak link a lot of fans will bemoan the move if Hayden is doing well for Atlanta.
Now we have another reason to keep an eye on him.