There’s zero doubt in his mind: Concussions are to blame.

Lewis offers two more startling takes before leaving. Heck yeah, his boys will play football. Eight-year-old Jazz already has, and Dad half-jokes that he needs to get tagged.

Moments earlier, sipping buttermilk coffee inside his downtown Atlanta office, Lewis pointed to the north, said those kids had options, and then pointed to the south. Those kids did not. Those kids don’t give a s–tabout concussions. Holding out a fist, Lewis then dramatically, sternly listed the reasons one finger at a time.

Hell, where I grew up, you take a lot of risk. You risk your kid going out hanging with the wrong crowd, selling drugs. You risk your kid hanging out with the wrong crowd, getting killed. You risk your kid hanging out with the wrong crowd, joining a gang. So, which one are you going to take? I’ll take football any day out of all of that.

It’s not you you’re worried about, he says. It’s your kids you’re worried about. It’s your family you’re worried about. You not being able to talk. You not being able to move around. … You don’t know when it’s going to hit you. You can manage but there’s only so long you can manage. At the same time, what are you going to do?

He takes a deep breath. A rusting car zips by and honks its horn, and Lewis waves back.

He can sense the sadness creeping in again and stops it.

I can’t live in the fear of ‘Oh, one day…one day….’ You can’t do that, because that day might never come. You might be one of the lucky ones. There might be something that comes out to help cognitive issues. You can’t live in fear.

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