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Baltimore Ravens Offensive Lineman John Urschel Retires From NFL At 26

Former Penn State standout offensive lineman and renowned scholar John Urschel is hanging up his cleats at age 26 according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The move by Urschel — a PH.D candidate at prestigious MIT and brilliant mathematician — follows a growing trend of NFL athletes to retire earlier in their careers to prolong their health and well-being long after their playing days are over. Urschel’s academic endeavors have been well-documented; the former fifth round pick is published in the Journal of Computational Mathematics and received the Ernest B. McCoy Memorial Award for athletic and academic excellence during his time at Penn State. His PH.D studies include areas like spectral graph theory and machine learning. Not to mention, Urschel was named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30” top scientists list.

The list of Urschel’s academic achievements could seemingly go on forever, but you get the idea.

Shortly after news of Urschel’s decision broke, the Baltimore Ravens issued a statement from head coach John Harbaugh:

Athletes like former San Fransisco 49ers linebackers Chris Borland and Patrick Willis — the former was especially outspoken about the danger of football and why he decided to retire early, and became one of the first athletes to do so — made headlines with their respective retirement decisions, but the timing of Urschel’s sheds a great deal of light on players’ awareness of the sport’s danger.

On Wednesday, the New York Times published findings from a study conducted by Dr. Ann McKee. The study revolved around the brains of 202 deceased football players. 111 of these brains came from former NFL players, and the study made national headlines after it was revealed that 110 of the brains were found to have the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy — more commonly referred to as CTE.

Urschel will undoubtedly continue to find overwhelming success in his respective fields of study, and his decision should be commended. We look forward to seeing Urschel furthering his position as Penn State’s ultimate ambassador.

About the Author

David Abruzzese

David is a senior from Rochester, NY, nestled right in beautiful Western New York. He is majoring in Broadcast Journalism, and as an avid sports fan, he passionately supports the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. He is the first Penn Stater from his family, and couldn’t be prouder to represent Penn State University. In his free time, he likes to alpine ski, and play golf. You can follow him on Twitter @abruz11, and can contact him via email at [email protected]

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