Citing worry about his health fueled by the movie Concussion, perennial powerhouse D'Brickashaw Ferguson of the New York Jets is set to call it a career and retire. After a productive 10-seasons in the NFL, the 32-year-old left tackle decided to prioritize his health over his football career.
Ferguson was drafted as the Jets fourth overall pick in the 2006 draft and quickly became the cornerstone of the Jets offensive line, starting 160 regular season games and playing over 10,000 snaps. In fact, Ferguson only missed one snap in his 10-year career, which is amazing in today's NFL.
Earlier this off season, Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller retired. Like Ferguson, Miller was still ostensibly healthy and probably could have added several more productive NFL seasons to his resume. Both Miller and Ferguson attended the University of Virginia. Miller was a first-round pick in 2005. Miller and Ferguson had their UVA jerseys retired in 2012.
The retirement will give the Jets $9 million in cap space, but it is difficult to put a price tag on perserving one's health. Ferguson recently wrote a piece for Sports Illustrated, describing his reaction after he saw the movie Concussion. He said he felt "betrayed," revealing he wasn't fully aware of the dangers associated with head injuries and football.
Last year, the 49ers lost two players to premature retirement, Anthony Davis and Chris Borland. As more research and information about head injuries comes to light, more will likely choose to retire before they suffer long-term, irreversible health problems.