Over the years, we have discovered the short and long term health issues with players who played in the NFL. I haven’t seen the movie “Concussion” yet starring Will Smith (it’s on my “to-do” list) but one of my good friends has. In a nut shell, he decided that his son won’t be playing football. Since the new year, we found out Calvin Johnson plans to retire, Marshawn Lynch put a picture of his cleats hanging on a telephone wire on Instagram, and Jerod Mayo became the latest to announce his retirement. Not only are these big name stars that’s retiring, but they’re retiring at a young age.
Calvin Johnson is 30. Marshawn Lynch and Jerod Mayo are 29 years old. 2 of the 3 have won the Superbowl and all of them have been Pro Bowlers. All 3 of them are in the prime of their careers, even though all of them have been dealing with injuries. The fact is each one of them can compete at an elite level, but they are choosing to leave on their own terms. Barry Sanders retired at 30 and he wanted to leave before his body got taken apart (and that’s before we found out about the multiple health issues with football nowadays).
After hearing about Junior Seau’s unfortunate death, I believe current NFL players are starting to pay attention to their long term health. Seau died to a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the chest in 2012. However, it was discovered that he had suffered brain damage from playing football. I’m not saying that was the cause of his death but you never know if it played any part of it.
When you see plays like this (click here), you start to wonder how much of an impact is that really having on a human. Adrian Coxson, former Green Bay Packers wide receiver, retired last summer. He was carted off on an ambulance due to a severe concussion. He said his next hit could be his last and therefore retired. He’s 23 years old. At this rate, the only positions with longevity is going to be quarterbacks (because of the rules), kickers, and punters.
If I were the NFL, I would be concerned with the early retirements that has occurred within the past month. I know Roger Goodell has attempted to make the game safer by adjusting the rules but there’s only so much you can to make a physical sport “safe”. Only time will tell what’s going to happen next, but I expect this trend of early retirements to grow.