If you haven’t heard the news, Vikings cornerback Asher Allen retired from football on Wednesday. He was at a very young age of 24 and was a starter for the team. He ended last season on injured reserve due to concussion-related symptoms but claimed his decision to retire was not health related.
I can take his word for it that it wasn’t health-related but I don’t think that health didn’t factor somewhat into this decision. In fact, this reminds me a lot of Glen Coffee when he retired from the 49ers after one season.
I am afraid that this might be the common trend in the NFL. Whether it’s health or finance-related, players are starting to think long and hard about their future and if the toll the NFL takes on their body is worth it.
I was listening to the radio yesterday and this exact topic was brought up. Unless you’re a megastar in the league, is it worth it to try to get by on the league’s near minimum salary and run the risk of health issues down the line?
With the current state of retired players complaining about post-career health issues and some even suffering brain damage, some current players might fear that they could end up like that. I don’t want to see that.
So what is the smart thing to do for these players? The problem right now is the NFL is not offering a great retirement plan/assistance program for potential health issues. And with the grind the NFL body takes over a career (which on average is about 3.6 years per player), how much money is worth the risk?
A concussion isn’t too bad but multiple concussions, especially within a season, will add up. Is a contract that pays $1 million a year worth it? How much of that can be saved for future medical bills?
If the NFL doesn’t offer more assistance for their retired players or more concussion-related issues are brought up, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of these things happening. Even though Allen says health-related issues didn’t make him quit, I have to believe at least it crossed his mind.
And for a man that was a starter in the NFL, it’s a big thing to turn away from it. I do hope that he finds something good to do with the rest of his life away from football.