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Taylor Lewan Describes His ACL Tear: “I Started Bawling…You Feel So Alone.”

By now, everyone knows that Barstool’s own Taylor Lewan tore his ACL last Sunday and is out for the year. He and Will Compton just dropped a special episode of Bussin’ With the Boys where he describes what the injury was like and his immediate reaction, and I’m telling you, it’s one of the most riveting (and sad) things you’re going to ever hear on a sports podcast.

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It’s unbelievable how honest Taylor is in describing this injury.

The podcast began with a statement from Taylor:

“I made a promise not to do a [new] podcast during the season, now we’re good. But You have to be careful what you say [Will], because you have to see Vrabel every day. Because of Covid protocols are way different for IR, I’m barely in the building now.” 

To me, it’s incredible he’s able to be funny just 72 hours after his major injury (the pod was recorded on Wednesday night). 

Taylor explained his new alter ego on Twitter -- Jerry Ainsworth -- is his attempt to help defend himself against getting sad. “The road is to depression,” Taylor noted. “I’m on a bullet train there. I meet most things with humor. Taylor isn’t sad but Jerry Ainsworth is very sad.”

After some good natured ball busting, Will responded, “You’re lashing out. You’re saying hurtful things. You're saying untrue things. You think you’re responsible for my identity outside of football. And now your name is Jerry on Twitter.” 

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Taylor didn’t miss a beat. “Yeah, because I’m going through mild depression because my knee blew out. … I am hurting and I’m lashing out. When you’re 72 hours out, it’s tough.”

Then the serious stuff began. Taylor described the play that caused the injury, and like so many of these catastrophic ACL/MCL tears, it was a nothing play:

“We called a screen to A.J., I took 3 hard steps down, went down. … The guy was hung up over A.J. and so I go to plant and dive and save the play, and when I went to dive? I heard a loud pop and a tear. I grabbed my leg and was like, FUCK DUDE. I was like, you’re a dramatic dude. Is this a real thing? I’ve never had a big injury before. … When I planted and felt a tear and rip, my leg all of a sudden got super hot. I thought I dislocated my knee, I grabbed it, I was feeling it, and was like hopefully it’s not the ACL. It didn’t hurt at all.”

“The doctor came out, and grabs my leg, and does this test. … You grab under the hamstring and the grab the calf, and you try to move the calf forward, and if you feel a clicking, it's the ACL grabbing. And if it doesn’t? The doctor picks up my leg and gave me one yank, nothing hurt at all. Nothing hurt at all. He pulled it, and went, sigh, and put it down. I asked him, 'is it the ACL and is it torn?' And the doctor says, 'I’m not saying anything right now,' which obviously means, absolutely your ACL is torn. Now I’m panicking. 'Check it again!' I had a scare in Year 3. … They said it was torn ACL but it turned out to be a bone bruise, I didn’t tear anything. I said [to the doctor], 'please check it again,' getting panicky, and he said, 'I don’t have to check it again.' And I was like FUCK DUDE.”

The raw emotion Taylor exhibited in this description is incredible, and not just because he and the Titans were playing so well, and had a HUGE chip on his shoulder coming into this season. 

He expanded: 

"I had all these plans for a comeback season … you think, it really hasn't hit me that I’m out for the season. I’m looking for any sort of comfort because I felt so alone in that moment. I’m in the blue tent, and the doctor comes in … and said, 'do you want me to check it again?' He grabs it, yanks on it twice … and says, 'your ACL is gone. It’s not there.' I grabbed the dude and I pulled him into me, and started letting loose. Started bawling my eyes out. Overwhelming cry, like a loud sob, a good bitch cry. Let it out. It just sucked in that moment, you feel so helpless. I had my helmet on because I didn’t want people to see me crying. At this point, I was like, I don’t want to be alone."

Like so many people, Will wanted to know when Taylor would be completely healed and ready to open a cavernous hole for Henry once again. “What’s the timeline?” he asked.

“It’s legit just my ACL,” Taylor said. “Six to nine months. Even if I go the full nine months? I’ll be back in July. … In the ‘80s and ‘90s an ACL was a career ender. You’re fucking dunzo. Now dudes are coming back no problem.” 

There’s so much more good stuff in this episode -- so much vulnerability, honesty and humor wrapped up into one. While I’m heartbroken for Taylor, I imagine we’ll get a unique look into his rehab process every week on the pod. 

For the rest of this emergency conversation, click the link below: