clay harbor-bachelorette

Sometimes love requires sacrifice. Free agent tight end Clay Harbor learned that the hard way on Monday night’s episode of The Bachelorette.

When bachelorette Becca invited some contestants on a group date to play football, that would have seemed to be an advantage for Harbor, who has played seven NFL seasons (but spent 2017 on injured reserve). Instead, the date wound up getting the best of the veteran tight end.

After laying low for much of the “Becca Bowl,” Harbor turned heroic in the game’s final seconds, shedding tacklers and scrambling toward the end zone for a game-tying touchdown. But as his team celebrated, he lay on the ground in the end zone clutching his wrist.

Here’s how Bachelorette-watching Ringer writer Rodger Sherman described what happened next [SPOILERS]:

Clay returned for the end of the group date with his arm in a sling, saying that he was “not great” and needed to follow up with an orthopedic surgeon. Becca appreciated his quick return and added that she liked seeing Clay “in his element,” and the way he let other contestants shine briefly instead of spending the entire game obliterating them. The two then made out extensively, and Becca gave Clay the rose for the group date, as is customary when a Bachelorette contestant seriously injures himself in pursuit of love.

But during the episode-ending cocktail party, Clay revealed his status for the rest of the season had been downgraded from PROBABLE to DOUBTFUL. He explained that the injury would need surgery, and while he found Becca to be a special woman worth pursuing, he couldn’t further jeopardize his future NFL career by continuing to participate in the show instead of letting the wrist heal. Becca didn’t take the news well, crying while telling the camera that her connection with Clay had just started to click.

And so just like that, Clay’s promising Bachelorette run came to an end. He’ll have to find love some way that doesn’t involve competing with dozens of other men for the heart of a single woman selected for him by television executives.

Luckily for Harbor, however, his Bachelorette-induced wrist injury does not seem likely to affect his NFL career. The 30-year-old tweeted Monday night after the show aired that he was at peace with his decision to leave The Bachelorette and that he is “finally ready to play some football.”

Harbor in his career has 114 receptions for 1,170 yards, eight touchdowns, and one aborted attempt at love.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.