After a 7-year career, offensive tackle Eugene Monroe has retired from the NFL. Monroe was released by the Baltimore Ravens this year and did not sign with another franchise.
The reason becomes apparent now with him retiring. Monroe has retired to focus on his health, body and his head, or more specifically, to see if he has a case of CTE.
“After 18 years, I am retiring from the game I love,” Monroe said in a statement. “This was not an easy decision to make, but I know it’s the right one for me, my health and my family. Thank you to my fans for your continued support, and to my friends and family for always standing by me. I’m excited about what’s to come.”
Monroe further discussed on the Players Tribune.
“The last 18 years have been full of traumatic injuries to both my head and my body,” he wrote. “I’m not complaining, just stating a fact. Has the damage to my brain already been done? Do I have CTE? I hope I don’t, but over 90% of the brains of former NFL players that have been examined showed signs of the disease. I am terrified.”
“That’s why one of the first things I’m planning to do is to go to the doctor,” he added. “I need to take stock of my current health, and I don’t want to miss a thing. I’m going to get brain and body imaging scans, mental health assessments – anything that might help me get a handle on the state of my body and my mind. My health is critical to the future of my family.”
Monroe is 29-years old. He was also an outspoken advocate for medical marijuana and told the New York Times his advocacy might be a reason for his release. Monroe was the only active player to publicly support removing marijuana from the NFL’s banned substance list. He has said he doesn’t plan to end his campaign.
“Despite the current uncertainties, one thing is for sure: Whatever happens in terms of my professional football career, I will never stop pushing for the League to accept medical cannabis as a viable option for pain management,” he said.
The New York Giants and a few other teams reportedly showed interest in Monroe, but he has said he will use the same energy he did in his football career in his next phase of life.
“The game of football has helped me to know what it takes to set objectives, to know how to work tirelessly to achieve them and to push through any obstacle no matter how insurmountable it may seem,” he said. “For all my anxiety, I’m actually excited for what the future holds because I feel prepared for it.”
Monroe started only 17 games in two seasons since receiving $17.5 million in guaranteed money as part of the five-year, $37.5 million deal he signed with the Ravens in 2014. He missed time because of four injuries since the start of the 2014 season: knee which he missed four, ankle (three), concussion (three) and shoulder (two).