On Tuesday evening Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo announced his retirement on Instagram.
Mayo is 29, a two time Pro-Bowler and Super bowl 49 champion who played eight seasons in the NFL.
Mayo’s retirement is the latest in a string of NFL players walking away from the game at a young age.
This offseason we have already seen Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (30) and Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (29) hang up the cleats. Johnson has dealt with a variety of knee and ankle injuries throughout his career and Lynch had sports hernia surgery during the 2015 season.
Last offseason was highlighted by 49ers linebacker Patrick Lewis (31) retiring early. Willis is considered one of the best middle linebackers of his time, and many were shocked that the seven time Pro-Bowler chose to walk away early without winning a championship.
Another noteable retirement occurred last offseason when Steelers linebacker Jason Worilds retired. Worilds was 26 at the time of his retirement, entering the prime of his career.
It is common knowledge that football is a violent sport. Players’ bodies break down faster in this sport than any other. Knee injuries and concussions have been heavily documented, and many people think that the main reason why more and more players are walking away is to prevent suffering these types of injuries.
With all of the research being done on concussions and CTE, the NFL has had to defend itself. The “Concussion” movie starring Will Smith has not had as big of an impact as some had thought. However, more and more players continue to walk away at a younger age, and more parents are trying to get their kids to play other sports instead of football.
The NFL has its hands tied with these early retirements. We all know the damage football can do to the body, and the NFL needs to respect players’ decisions to walk away if they do not want to put their bodies through the same beating any longer.