Jon Beason retires after nine NFL seasons

By David Kenyon
Jun 8, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants middle linebacker Jon Beason (52) speaks to media after organized team activities at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY

Jon Beason, once a standout linebacker for the Carolina Panthers, has decided to shed his New York Giants uniform and retire from the NFL.

The team confirmed Beason’s decision in a statement. The middle linebacker cited doctors’ recommendations and a lack of consistent availability as the key reason for his departure, which is simply fitting because injuries derailed his once-promising career.

Carolina selected Beason with the No. 25 pick in the 2007 NFL draft, and he immediately made a lasting impression. The University of Miami product tallied 140 total tackles and an interceptions during his rookie campaign, finishing second in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting.

Beason earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2008 and a second-team award in 2009, recording Pro Bowl nods in three straight years (2008-2010). He registered at least 121 stops in each season.

Following the tremendous start to his career, Beason inked a deserved five-year, $50 million contract extension that made him the NFL’s highest-paid middle linebacker.

And that’s basically where the positive part of the story ends.

Beason appeared in a single game during the 2011 campaign before tearing his left Achilles. The Panthers used their 2012 first-round pick on a young linebacker named Luke Kuechly, who only was their best player throughout the recent run to the Super Bowl.

Kuechly took Beason’s job, and the veteran played just four contests in 2012. Beason moved to outside linebacker for 2013, but Chase Blackburn quickly stole the starting role.

Carolina traded Beason to the Giants, where he assembled a resurgent season. Over a 12-game stretch, he notched 93 total tackles and one interception.

That effectiveness didn’t last long, however, since a broken toe ended Beason’s 2014 season after four outings. Knee and ankle issues led to New York placing Beason on injured reserve after five games this past year.