So, Ravens offensive linemen Eugene Monroe has decided to add his name to the list of players who have retired early due to fear of doing further damage to themselves. Eugene Monroe is 29 years old, and was recently just released by the Ravens because of injuries limiting Monroe to being an active player on the roster. Instead of searching for a new team, Monroe has decided to put his family and health first and walk away from the game of football. Monroe, like players before him, have decided the long-term effects on his health are not worth the risk which playing professional football bring.
Monroe said in his statement he does not want to continue taking pain-killers to stay on the field and he also mentioned how his fear of CTE is something to consider.
Kudos to Monroe. Really. He is following the current trend of player’s like A.J. Tarpley and Chris Borland – two young players in the league who decided that the game is too dangerous for their long-term health and decided to call it quits. Bigger names in the league who retired before their time are former Lions receiver Calvin Johnson and former 49er Patrick Willis, who have counted their blessings and figured to get out before any serious damage can occur. . .
To retire early is one’s choice, but let’s not go overboard in calling these men anything else but “men who retired early.” The NFL has a job hazard. Actually a few of them: broken bones, CTE and in some cases even paralysis. These are risks that players know of (at least in today’s league) and it’s their decision to play or not. There are a lot of jobs that come with health-hazards/life-risk: logging workers, steel workers, construction workers, firemen and police officers to name a few. They know going in what the job has to offer them on the positive side and on the negative side. For these people, the positive outweigh the negative and they commit to it.
The NFL is being hurt by players retiring early because of the “fear” of what might happen to them. For some of these players though, they’ve already cashed in on some nice paychecks before doing so. The NFL is a dangerous and violent sport. Even in today’s toned down version of American Football. Players of today know all about the risk verses the reward when playing in this league and there’s a fine line between cashing in quick and then leaving; to playing and becoming “more aware” of the risks.
Monroe might have just had a “eureka” moment and decided to call it quits. . . OR maybe his push for medicinal marijuana use in the league being ignore and the fact that he was just cut after being injury prone, changed his mind about playing in the league. Monroe is a 29 year old man who knew from the age of 14 years old how intense and violent this sport is. He is young enough to be in-tune with the stories that have circled this league in concerns of C.T.E . . .
Everyone has the right to retire for whatever reason they want, but from the NFL side of things – this will only end up bad. If you keep having players retire early, there will eventually be no reason to keep the league going. “Stars” will have peaked by the end of their rookie contracts and then walk off into the sunset. This is why the league is coming down harder on violent/unnecessary hits and have made the jobs of defensive players all around the league difficult. The rules have changed to make this violent sport “safer” and ultimately the rules will change so much that it will change the sport altogether. These rules are being made to keep players from being scared of the sport itself.
Enjoy the league now, because maybe no more than 20 years down the line the game will no longer feature amazing super-star careers like Tom Brady, Adrian Peterson or Ray Lewis have presented to us. . . Or it may just become a completely different game altogether.