The Baltimore Ravens got some shocking news when John Urschel announced that he was retiring from football:
The Baltimore Ravens offensive line didn’t become any less concerning with the sudden retirement of John Urschel. Instead of being the front runner for the center position, Urschel is starting a chapter of his life without football. Urschel was a rare football player. Urschel is trying to gets his Ph. D. from MIT. In other words, this is a man who has a lot going on outside of football. His retirement is surprising only because of the timing. If Urschel had retired after the 2016 season, nobody would have been all that shocked. Like I said, he has a lot going on. However, Urschel retired when training camp began. That is something that doesn’t happen very often.
1. Is this because of CTE, and should the NFL be worried about this becoming a trend?
John Urschel is not the first player in the NFL who has retired because of health concerns. Chris Borland was the first to make a big splash retirement because of health concerns, and Urschel won’t be the last. Urschel places a high value on his brain; it’s unlocking a lot of doors for him. There is a definitive pattern of these retirements but I wouldn’t say it was a trend. The NFL should has been afraid of this for a long time. The good news for the Roger Goodell led league, is that there aren’t a lot of Ph. D. seeking mathematicians in football.
There is a lot of speculation that the recent JAMA study that basically concluded that CTE was almost a certainty for NFL players. I doubt the research article pushed Urschel to retirement. I severely doubt this was news to a person who has been described as a genius. Urschel has probably been stewing over this for a while. It’s not a news flash that contact sports can have unsettling consequences. Urschel ultimately made the decision that he thought he had to make.
This is the statement that Urschel gave, which Ryan Mink shared in his article on the Ravens official site:
"“Thank you to everyone for the kind words today. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I believe it was the right one for me. I’m extremely grateful to the Ravens, and blessed to have been able to play the game I love at the highest level. It is a great game. There are some games – like the playoff game at Pittsburgh – that I will never forget. “I’m excited to start working on my doctorate in mathematics full time at MIT. I’m looking forward to the chance to take courses that are only offered in the fall semester, while spending time with my fiancé and preparing myself for the new challenges that come with fatherhood. We’re expecting our first child in December.”"