Bills’ A.J. Tarpley retires due to concussion concerns

Dec 27, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills linebacker A.J. Tarpley (59) runs the ball after an interception during the second half against the Dallas Cowboys at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Buffalo defeat Dallas 16-6. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

After just one season in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills, linebacker A.J. Tarpley retired due to concussion concerns.

Posting his retirement announcement on Instagram, Tarpley revealed he’d suffered the third and fourth concussions of his career during the 2015 campaign.

Clearly, based on his heartfelt message, this wasn’t an easy decision for Tarpley to make:

“The only thing comforting about not knowing this play would be the last of my career, is knowing that I never took a second for granted,” he wrote. “After months of introspection, I am retiring from football. I suffered the 3rd and 4th concussions of my career this past season and I am walking away from the game I love to preserve my future health.

“This decision is the hardest I’ve made yet but after much research and contemplation I believe it’s what is best for me going forward.”

Tarpley also thanked everyone who helped him on his football journey, from Wazata to Stanford to Buffalo.

More and more young athletes are choosing health over a long career and potential riches, but given the strides in researching CTE it’s not surprising.

Combining the new information that is out there and readily available with the tragic stories of players whose lives were completely broken is a powerful combination that is prompting different life choices than we used to see.

Tarpley was an undrafted free agent out of Stanford who made the Bills roster and appeared in 14 games, starting two. He had eight tackles, one sack, one interception, one forced fumble and two touchdowns in his rookie campaign.

He could have made some pretty decent money playing in the NFL for four or five years, but he’s choosing long-term health over long-term financial stability.