Vikings' Antone Exum: 'My live could have possibly been on the line'

— -- Antone Exum knew he was badly hurt during a game earlier this month. But even with thoughts about his own mortality crossing his mind, the Minnesota Vikings' safety chose to stay in the game.

"Thoughts went through my head: 'I could die out there,' just for the simple fact that I didn't know what the problem was," Exum told the St. Paul Pioneer Press in an email. "But I knew we didn't have anyone else (to play) safety."

Exum suffered a fractured rib and an injured AC joint in his shoulder trying to tackle Seattle Seahawks tight end Luke Willson in the first quarter of a game Dec. 6. However, because the Vikings were shorthanded at the position, he chose to keep playing even though he wasn't able to run at full speed with the injuries.

"I was feeling a pain in my chest with every breath and motion," Exum wrote to the Pioneer Press. "It was scary because I didn't know what it was."

He was placed on injured reserve two days after the game.

"I knew that the way I compete sticks to a code of never giving up," Exum wrote to the Pioneer Press. "I knew that it means a lot to the guys next to me. Therefore, I couldn't come out.

"I know I didn't play my best game, and that hurts me because I left it all on the field from an effort standpoint and we came up short. But I'm a warrior and made a choice to keep playing when I thought my life could have possibly been on the line. That, I can live with."

ESPN Staff Writer Ben Goessling contributed to this report.