Why Clay's 'Bachelorette' Injury Was Heartbreakingly Ironic

Paul Hebert/ABC

It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Usually, in the case of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, the injuries are of the romantic kind. Broken hearts on these shows are a dime a dozen. But no, on Becca's season of The Bachelorette, contestant Clay broke his wrist during a football-themed group date with Becca and the other guys. He is a professional football player, but that doesn't mean he's immune to injury when he's off the clock — did Clay's wrist injury on The Bachelorette affect his football career?

Given that there are at least two guys with football experience on The Bachelorette right now, the producers had to do a football-centered group date. Clay was playing it cool to start with and not going absolutely HAM on the other contestants, but when his team was down and he needed to make up those points, Clay rushed the field and scored a mighty touchdown. Unfortunately, he injured his wrist, hearing a pop and fearing that it was broken. Poor Clay! For any other Joe Schmo off the street, it wouldn’t matter so much that his wrist got hurt. Like, it would suck, but it wouldn’t be detrimental to most people's careers. But in the case of Clay, who is a literal NFL player, well, that could be a problem if he needed to get back in the game after his stint on The Bachelorette is over.

According to Sports Illustrated, Clay has been in the NFL since 2010 as a tight end (girl, you know it). USA Today reports that right now, Clay is an “unrestricted free agent” and he’s currently associated with the New Orleans Saints. He’s also played for the Philadelphia Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots, and Detroit Lions, and he was on the injured reserve list before The Bachelorette even started, according to CBS News, so if he signs with a team for the 2018-2019 season and still lands on the injured reserve list, it might not be related to The Bachelorette.

Becca’s season started filming in the early months of 2018, and training camp begins in July, so Clay has a few months for his broken wrist to heal. To be fair, it wasn’t an easy break — Clay tells a few of the contestants on The Bachelorette that he needs an operation to put himself back together again (like Humpty Dumpty, but with pigskin). Even so, if Clay is still hurt and can’t play football during the 2018 season because of The Bachelorette, it was a lot worse than we thought.

Later, Clay and Becca had a little one-on-one time, and Clay ended up getting a rose from Becca. Not bad for an injured dude! Maybe that wrist booboo is worth it if you end up getting engaged to Becca, huh, Clay? But it wasn’t to last. During the final cocktail party, Clay told some of the other contestants that he didn't know if he could stick around for the rest of the show. He said:

It’s a tough decision, because, you know, I play football, and I love football. But also, it’s a way for me to make a good living so I can support the people I love the most in this world. And I feel like I might need to maybe leave early. But you guys know how amazing Becca is and how rare she is, and it’s not like you can find another girl like her every day. If I leave, and say I have three more years of playing football, and I retire, and there’s still no woman that I’ve met that’s there for me, knowing that I’ve left the opportunity to see if there was a possibility to do that with Becca, I’d regret it. I think it’s something that I owe to Becca and I owe to myself to let her know where I’m at and know what I’m feeling.

Clay later said that football has to come first in his life because it’s how he makes his money, and he knows that the right thing to do is to head out the door and get better. Clay opted to leave Becca behind in order to fix his wrist, and it was commendable — though it was a hard decision, he had to make it for his future and for his family.