On Sundays, Chris Canty wears an intimidating face mask, with a lot of bars and a dark visor. It looks great on the football field. But looking tough isn't its primary function.
Canty wears the mask because of an eye injury he sustained in 2005 leading up to the NFL draft. Due to a detached retina, Canty can't risk having anyone accidentally (or purposefully) poke him in the eye during a play. Therefore, he became one of the first players to wear the custom face mask on the football field.
However, as players wanted to wear those masks instead, the NFL has decided to crack down. On Monday, the league reiterated that those masks would be banned in 2014. But due to Canty's situation, he'll be eligible to apply for a medical exemption to allow him to wear the mask he's worn throughout the entirety of his NFL career.
"It's that simple. I can't play without it," Canty told The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson. "I can't help it that other guys think it's cool and they want to wear it, too. It's a necessity for me."
Canty should be able to get the necessary clearance to wear it again. Key word is should. This is the NFL after all.