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Arizona Cardinals TE John Carlson Announces His Retirement

Just one day after the Arizona Cardinals convened for offseason workouts, veteran tight end John Carlson has announced his retirement. The news was broken by Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com, who expressed surprise with the move given that Carlson had worked with the team on Monday.

Carlson, a 2008 second-round draft pick of the Seattle Seahawks, played four years for Seattle and was released in 2012 after missing all of 2011 with a torn labrum suffered in training camp. He spent two years with the Minnesota Vikings, catching 40 passes for 387 yards and one score. His 2013 ended on injured reserve as well, following a concussion suffered in December of that year.

In 2014, Carlson appeared in all 16 games for Arizona, with 12 starts. He had 33 catches on 55 targets, for 350 yards and one score. Despite showing up to practice with the team on Monday, Carlson opted to hang up his cleats the following day. In a statement released by the team (via Urban), Carlson said:

“After much thought and consideration, my wife Danielle and I know that this is the best decision for us. I was blessed to play seven seasons in the NFL for three tremendous organizations—the Cardinals, Vikings and Seahawks. I will always treasure the experiences and relationships made during that time but I’m also very excited about the next phase of my life and what’s ahead.”

Though Carlson did not directly name his reasons for retirement, his concussion history may be what spurred the decision. In addition to the concussion that he suffered with the Vikings—one that made him consider retirement at that time—he had suffered two others, plus at least two additional ones during his collegiate career playing for Notre Dame.

At a time where players who have little to no concussion history are retiring in order to preserve their post-football health for the long term, Carlson’s retirement is not a shock. It is surprising that it comes a day after working with his now-former teammates. But with the consequences of repeated concussions potentially life-altering for football players, Carlson clearly determined that another year in the NFL was not worth it for himself or his family.

Photo: USA Today Sports