Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel, 26, retired from the NFL on Thursday, just days after Boston University released a startling CTE study. The study found that 110 of 111 brains of deceased NFL players had CTE.
That was enough to convince Urschel, who is pursuing a doctorate at MIT, to call it a career.
It’ll be interesting to see if other players follow Urschel’s lead.
“It is troubling, there’s no question, but it is real,” Hall of Fame quarterback and NFL on CBS analyst Dan Fouts said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “It’s good that it’s out there because it does give guys a choice, whether they want to continue to play and put themselves at risk. So many guys at this point in their career, like Urschel, have made their money. So a smart guy would invest it now and go on with his life. But it is something that is at the forefront of the NFL and something that’s been dealt with. This is the latest case.”
Fouts, 66, played in the NFL from 1973-87. He spent his entire career in San Diego, where he was a six-time Pro Bowler and 1982 NFL MVP.
In those days, there was no talk of CTE or brain trauma.
“There really wasn’t any conversation,” Fouts said. “It was just, ‘How many fingers do you see? What city are you in? What’s the score?’ Those were the questions you were asked. It was a totally different situation. There was not the approach that there is today, which is the proper approach.”
Still, Fouts does not regret playing football.
“No, not at all,” he said. “I had my share of concussions, and I’m not sure what’s going to happen down the road, if it’s due to football or due to just aging. But it does concern me about my teammates, especially the guys on the offensive line that were banging heads on every play – (and not just) on Sundays. Back in the day, guys were hitting in practice every day and we had no days off. We practiced two times in the summer in full pads in training camp and guys were just hitting and hitting and hitting. I think we’re obviously seeing the effects of that, but that’s the way the game was played and that’s the way we learned. Again, I’m thankful that the league has taken the steps they have to really figure out what’s going on and change the rules a little bit to make it a little bit more safe.”