This bullfighter needs a left tackle…

Posted on March 7, 2012

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…though he is clearly not lacking in cojones.

This post may interrupt the flow of posts on the NFL’s “bountygate” (last seen here) but the surreal juxtaposition probably isn’t out of place.

Is a bullfighter an athlete? an artist? a butcher? sad clown? all of the above?

Well, if Juan José Padilla were an NFL player, Jon Gruden would surely call him a stud. The New York Times reports that

Five months after surviving a horrifying goring, Juan José Padilla, one of Spain’s leading bullfighters, wears a patch over his left eye and cannot chew any food, even after a series of surgeries to reconstruct part of his face…

Mr. Padilla will take a further step [in his recovery] on Sunday, when he will re-enter the ring in the western town of Olivenza, making a comeback at a speed that has stunned the rest of the bullfighting profession.

“Sunday will feel like a dream come true, after some very hard months, and I’m fully aware that nobody thought I would be back now,” he said.

Where’s Michael Oher when you need him?

Still, fighting with an eye patch will be a challenge at this level of bullfighting, making it particularly dangerous for Mr. Padilla whenever the bull brushes past him on his blind left side.

Despite his injuries, Mr. Padilla, 38, said that he had been encouraged by his wife and two children, although he acknowledged that his comeback did create “some divisions” within his family.

“My parents couldn’t understand why I would want to return,” he said.

(Readers who absolutely need to see what it looks like when a man is gored in the face can follow this link on their own reconnaissance.)

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