An NFL player may owe his life to a trade that never went through.
The Detroit Lions tried to trade running back Jerome Harrison to the Philadelphia Eagles, but the trade was scuttled when a physical exam - necessary for any trade - revealed Harrison had a brain tumor. The journeyman running back, who has also played for the Cleveland Browns, had surgery to remove it Friday.
“Without trade, Jerome Harrison doesn't get physical," wrote ESPN's Adam Schefter. "Without physical, doctors don't find brain tumor. Trade might have saved his life."
Harrison's coach visited with the player Friday, before the operation.
"He was in very good spirits," Lions Coach Jim Schwartz said. "But after that, I don’t know if I want to talk too much. It’s one of those things, it’s a non-football thing, and I’ll just let him take it away from that spot."
Harrison's suffered from an ependymoma in the fourth ventricle of his brain and had a condition called arteriovenous malformation, an abnormal connection between veins and arteries, according to ESPN.
Linebacker DeAndre Levy told The Associated Press after Sunday's game he and others on the team hope to visit Harrison once he's feeling better.
"Guys want to rally behind (him)," Levy said. "When you're out on the field, you've got to be able to control your emotions, regardless of what it is, whether it's that or something else."
Harrison, 28, was drafted by the Browns in 2006 out of Washington State University, where he set a team record with 1,900 yards rushing. In 2009, against the Kansas City Chiefs, Harrison ran for 286 yards, the third-highest single game total in NFL history.