While we’ve seen plenty of players choose to retire from the NFL due to health concerns, I’m not sure I can say that a player as young as Buffalo Bills linebacker A.J. Tarpley has done this before. In a shocking, but completely understandable move, the 23-year-old has decided to call it a career.
Tarpley posted the following on his Instagram account:
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. 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. I'd like to extend my gratitude to everyone that helped me along the way. Thank you to my coaches at Wayzata and Stanford, and to lifelong friends that I was blessed to call teammates. You all molded me into the man I am today. To my family, I'll never be able to repay your unwavering support and love, I just hope that I can continue to show how gracious I am and make you proud. I also want to thank the Buffalo Bills organization, coaches, and teammates for helping me fulfill my lifelong dream in the NFL. Last but not least, I'm proud to be a part of #BillsMafia and playing in front of the best fans in the league is something I won't forget. Thank you God for all that you have blessed me 🙏. I'm excited for my future.
It’s an incredible decision to make, especially for such a young player, but you have to give him credit. After joining the Bills as an undrafted free agent last season, Tarpley had eight tackles and one sack through 14 games. It’s hard to imagine how tough of a call this had to be, but whether you agree or disagree, the man deserves some credit.