Asher Allen, a defensive back who has played three seasons for the Vikings and who just turned 24 years old, has abruptly retired.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier told reporters today that Allen informed the team last week that he decided to call it quits. Frazier described himself as very surprised by Allen’s decision, and it’s impossible not to be surprised: NFL players just don’t walk away from the game, by choice, at the age of 24.
It’s not clear when Allen came to the decision and what his motivations might have been, but it’s impossible not to wonder, given the current atmosphere around the game of football, whether concussions might have played a part in his decision. Allen suffered a concussion in November of 2010 and then suffered another concussion in December of 2011. Two players who were offered the opportunity to make NFL rosters as undrafted free agents this year declined and cited concussions as the reason, and more than 2,000 former NFL players are suing the league over concussions.
Assuming Allen doesn’t change his mind, the Vikings could force him to return 25 percent of the $725,000 signing bonus that he received on his four-year contract in 2009. That’s $181,250, which could be enough money to make him reconsider retiring.
Allen played his college football at Georgia and was a third-round draft pick of the Vikings in 2009. In three seasons with the Vikings he appeared in 36 games, starting 21.