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Jets Tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson to Retire After 10 NFL Seasons

D'Brickashaw Ferguson (Image via USA TODAY Sports/Andrew Weber)

D’Brickashaw Ferguson (Image via USA TODAY Sports/Andrew Weber)


D’Brickashaw Ferguson, the long time left tackle for the New York Jets, has decided to hang up the cleats at the age of 32. Ferguson, the former Pro Bowler, was the fourth overall pick by the Jets in 2006.

Ferguson was a strong left tackle for the Jets over the past decade and the most impressive part of his game was his durability as he never missed a single practice, compiled 167 consecutive starts, and missed just one offensive snap in his career.

At this point, it is up to speculation as to why Ferguson decided to retire. The main theory is because the Jets asked him to take a pay cut so the team could resign Ryan Fitzpatrick. Apparently, Ferguson was already considering retirement, so being asked to take a pay cut just may have been the tipping point.

This clearly raises a lot of questions about how the Jets might fill this hole. But my biggest concern is the state of the NFL. In my opinion, there are two huge things scaring away people from pursuing a career in professional football. The first is the concussion scare and the second is unguaranteed contracts.

In the other major sports, players will only retire at the age of 32 if they cannot make a roster. But in the NFL, players are starting to retire at younger ages because their health is clearly in jeopardy, which puts their earnings in jeopardy.

Some players don’t have the option to choose retirement because they don’t make enough money. Most of the NFL players are not stars of the league and they are playing for a paycheck. They have to risk injury and future health to collect their paychecks because they don’t have a great college education (which brings up a whole new debate about student athletes).

But the players that have made their money in the NFL and have played for several years are willing to choose retirement because they don’t want to risk future health issues. And it’s not just Ferguson that retired during this offseason. Marshawn Lynch, star running back from the Seattle Seahawks retired this offseason at the age of 29. Calvin Johnson, star wide receiver from the Detroit Lions retired this offseason at the age of 30. And perhaps the more surprising one is A.J. Tarpley, linebacker from the Buffalo Bills retired at the age of 23 this offseason and he cited concussions as the reason.

A recent study about CTE, a brain injury suffered by severe blows to the head, showed that over 95% of deceased NFL players had some degree of CTE. And right now the NFL is by far the nation’s most popular sport. But if there is one thing that could be the eventual downfall of this billion dollar industry, it will be the concussion scare.

The NFL will not be losing ratings anytime soon. However they do not figure out a solution to this concussion issue, it may hurt the NFL in a few decades from now. As we learn more about CTE, it may keep the younger generation away from playing football because their parents will try to keep them out of the violent sport. The younger generation might also lose the watching interest in the sport because they aren’t playing it and there may be less stars and overall talent in the league.

I still believe that the NFL right now is safe. It is too powerful for any of us football lovers to not tune in every Sunday. But it just seems to me that the NFL clearly has a huge problem in front of them with concussions and we are already seeing the effects of it. I also think that the NFL is taking steps to anger its fan base like having a Thursday night football game (which doesn’t give players enough time to recover from the previous Sunday giving them a higher risk of injury), potentially having a franchise based in London, and moving the touchback from the 20 yard line to the 25 yard line, which might be a stepping stone in the NFL’s plan to eliminate kickoffs all together.

The NFL just seems like a total mess right now between concussions, early retirements, unpopular rule changes, lack of clarity of rules, and all of the off the field trouble that players get into could be the eventual downfall of the NFL. I’ve said this for a while now, I love football, but I hate the NFL.

They really need to get their “you know what” together before things uncontrollably out of hand.

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