For the last two seasons, Detroit Lions center Frank Ragnow has been playing with a toe injury he himself called "inoperable" (though he would later say he misspoke a bit). Daily injury reports this season have included calf, back and knee issues to go with the toe, and he missed just one game after having meniscus surgery on that injured knee.
Ragnow also once finished a game with a fractured throat, and missed just two games afterward. All NFL players have a degree of toughness to them, but Ragnow takes it do a different level. He's literally better as banged up as he is than a lot of other centers are will fully functioning body parts.
It surely would have taken something being broken for Ragnow to come out of Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But when he had his leg rolled up on at the end of a play in late in the second quarter, and laid on the field for a moment after the Lions had lost left guard Jonah Jackson in the game, the concern level was automatically high.
The Lions' punted to end that series. Ragnow got wrapped and taped up at halftime, and wound up coming out for the start of the third quarter. He did not miss an offensive snap.
Update: Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Monday that Ragnow suffered a sprained knee and a sprained ankle during Sunday's game.
Ragnow talked about the moment of the injury after the game.
"To me, the pain, I’m not trying to sound like some brute tough guy here, but I was just more frustrated than anything with the fact that it’s just, again, you know?" "It was tough. But it was worth it.”
Of all of Ragnow's teammates the longest-tenured one, left tackle Taylor Decker, put it best to describe the toughness of the Lions' center.
"The dude's just a warrior, man."
Via Kyle Meinke of MLive, Decker and Jackson both turned toward the same bad word to describe Ragnow.
"Frank is a f***ng warrior, man,” left tackle Taylor Decker said, tears coming out of his eyes.
"The guy is a f***ing warrior,” left guard Jonah Jackson said.
Dan Campbell professes a "GRIT" culture to his team, and it's working. Ragnow is a, or really the, personification of that with all his ailments.
"GRIT" is also not a big enough word to describe Ragnow's level of toughness, and it can't be done well enough with one word anyway.