Eugene Monroe is 29 years old and a starting-caliber left tackle, but was curiously released by the Ravens this offseason, a move Monroe believes was caused by his outspoken advocacy of medical marijuana. Today, Monroe retired from the NFL over health concerns.
Monroe announced his retirement in a post on The Players’ Tribune, in which he expresses his fears over the toll that football has already taken on his body and brain:
The last 18 years have been full of traumatic injuries to both my head and my body. I’m not complaining, just stating a fact. Has the damage to my brain already been done? Do I have CTE? I hope I don’t, but over 90% of the brains of former NFL players that have been examined showed signs of the disease. I am terrified.
My wife used to joke about the “little things I forget,” but now she’s more concerned about things like me putting my phone in the freezer and then tearing up our house looking for it. Things like that were just a joke around the house until this past winter, when my four-year-old daughter said, “Daddy you don’t remember anything!” Since then, she’s said it a few more times.
Monroe joins a group of NFL players who recently retired from the game while still in playing shape. Lion wide receiver Calvin Johnson cited the steady flow of painkillers and the prevalence of concussions in the NFL when explaining his abrupt retirement, and Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah left the game after suffering the fifth concussion of his career. Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo retired at age 29 this offseason, as did 32-year-old Jets tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson.