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Phil Costa: I retired at 26 because football took a toll on my body

Phil Costa AP

Phil Costa, the 26-year-old center who abruptly announced his retirement just weeks after signing as a free agent with the Colts, says he did it because football wore him down.

“Unfortunately, the day-to-day physical rigor of the NFL season has taken a toll on my body and has been a driving force behind my decision,” Costa said in a statement, via the Dallas Morning News.

Costa missed most of the 2012 season with the Cowboys because of back and ankle injuries, and he struggled to return to form in 2013. But Costa doesn’t sound like he has hard feelings toward the NFL.

“As I look forward to the next chapter of my life, I will always be grateful for the opportunity to have played in the league,” Costa said.

It wouldn’t be surprising if, after some time, Costa decides that he wants to give football another shot. If he really is finished playing, however, we wish him well in whatever he does in the next phase of his life.

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38 Responses to “Phil Costa: I retired at 26 because football took a toll on my body”
  1. punkscotty says: Apr 23, 2014 6:42 AM

    And we Cowboys’ fans want to retire at all ages because watching them has taken a toll on our minds.

  2. dccowboy says: Apr 23, 2014 6:43 AM

    Costa is an overachiever. His body makeup, too small to play guard and barely big enough to play Center limited him. What he accomplished he did via sheer determination. He did well to make it as a decent Center. He was consistently overpowered by DTs and was only effective in a zone blocking scheme using cut blocks and ‘choke’ blocks.

    I imagine that it would take a toll physically on someone his size trying to block DTs every play.

  3. dje81 says: Apr 23, 2014 6:52 AM

    Must be nice to retire at age 26.

  4. bengalinjersey says: Apr 23, 2014 7:26 AM

    It must be nice to be banging Brooke hogan for the rest of his life. I guess that’ll be his new job.

  5. phlorioisaphag says: Apr 23, 2014 7:39 AM

    No need to further jeopardize your health for a sub par franchise…#neckbeardisnomanning

  6. kepdogg23 says: Apr 23, 2014 7:45 AM

    I am retiring from commenting on stories at the age of 35, my fingers have ran the gauntlet.

  7. iwantrudytodressforme says: Apr 23, 2014 8:03 AM

    dje81 says:
    Apr 23, 2014 6:52 AM
    Must be nice to retire at age 26.

    You know what I’m sick of this line of thinking. All the “wow those professional athletes are a bunch of over priveleged cry babies. I don’t make millions, I don’t get to retire young blah blah blah.” Guess what: life is a melting pot, it takes all kinds. You could’ve trained for 10 hours a day since the time you were a fetus but you didn’t so guess what you’re not a pro athlete. You know what pro athletes don’t get to do? See their family the majority of their “off” time, sleep in their own bed, eat Doritos. But you do. Is retiring early with lifetime lower back problems better than retiring at 65 with good health? No, just like unicorns aren’t better than leprechauns. Life is what you made of it, and currently you’re helping make that world lucrative for pro athletes by even watching the game. So to cry and moan about how their life is “luckier” than yours is absurd. Just count your blessings man.

  8. phuzzball says: Apr 23, 2014 8:23 AM

    Iwantrudy: ditto!

  9. Straight Cash Homie says: Apr 23, 2014 8:42 AM

    He’s simply retiring from the NFL. Unless he has the world’s best financial advisor and never spent a penny of what he’s earned he will have to work again. Quit being butt hurt, or I guess in most cases jealous, of what they do in their lives because I’m pretty sure they aren’t scouring the internet to comment on what you do in your life and career.

  10. thegonz13 says: Apr 23, 2014 8:45 AM

    So Costa was able to retire at 26… more power to him. Firstly, as iwanttrudy accurately said, this guy trained and studied for years, which is more than most of us have done.

    The guy is in a position to live without aches, pains and the consequences of concussions. I for one I’m happy for him.

    Besides, if anyone out there thinks that Costa will just be sitting at home doing nothing, they’re delusional. He’s just going to use the visibility he got as a football player and parlay it into a good job.

  11. accipiterq says: Apr 23, 2014 8:45 AM

    @Iwantrudy probably best comment I’ve seen on this site.

  12. cowboyhater says: Apr 23, 2014 9:01 AM

    iwantrudytodressforme says: Apr 23, 2014 8:03 AM

    dje81 says:
    Apr 23, 2014 6:52 AM
    Must be nice to retire at age 26.

    You know what I’m sick of this line of thinking.

    —————————————————————

    That statement hit a nerve I see. I happen to agree with his comment. It was a statement of admiration (?)….. your certainly are making a huge assumption of what this person was speaking about. Let’s get off of that personal responsibility soap box, and get back to knowing this is just a sport, and we a just fans. Chill out my man….

  13. stinkfist5 says: Apr 23, 2014 9:11 AM

    He probably doesn’t want to end up like the gimp that is his father in law.

  14. fdugrad says: Apr 23, 2014 9:22 AM

    His decision makes sense to me. I am not familiar with the young man, however he probably has already earned a number of lifelong chronic pain injuries, especially if he is a relatively smallish man, in comparison to most OL players…makes sense to me.

  15. cincyalldaway says: Apr 23, 2014 9:23 AM

    Quitter!

  16. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Apr 23, 2014 9:26 AM

    Costa was a bit undersized for playing center in the NFL and he was too easily pushed back into the backfield and often injured as he says.

    Just didn’t work out. Best for him to move on.

  17. higheriqthanyou says: Apr 23, 2014 9:46 AM

    He would play of he could get on with Seattle, the best franchise in the league.

  18. crewchief15 says: Apr 23, 2014 9:46 AM

    Good for him, unlike most players he’s not greedy and understands he has much life yet to live.

  19. heeeeelzfan says: Apr 23, 2014 10:08 AM

    While I have no problem with his decision to retire it seems to me that he could have made that decision BEFORE signing with the Colts.

  20. jkirby317 says: Apr 23, 2014 10:16 AM

    At least he told the Colts now using his words he was done instead of trying to show them he can’t play like Satele did last season.

    Time to draft a center?

  21. chihawks4life says: Apr 23, 2014 10:33 AM

    The “day to day physical rigor of the nfl season” ??? Ya must be real hard to play once a week & then get 3-4 days off before watching film on the next team. Sounds real grueling…….especially considering the NFL season has by far the shortest regular& post season out of all the major sports.

  22. hurricanes88 says: Apr 23, 2014 10:37 AM

    Nah… Him and Brooke called of the engagement last Fall…

  23. ariani1985 says: Apr 23, 2014 10:48 AM

    Brooke without makeup = average at best

  24. isphet71 says: Apr 23, 2014 10:51 AM

    A young football player smart enough to say “it isn’t worth destroying my body any further.” That’s rare.

  25. footballtalk1 says: Apr 23, 2014 10:55 AM

    Glad he walked away from the game healthy. No CTE hopefully, seen too many guys play too long and the results. RIP Dave Duerson Jovan Belcher Junior Seau and others.

  26. weepingjebus says: Apr 23, 2014 11:01 AM

    Can we please leave the Doritos out of this? The Doritos are fine, they never hurt anybody. Come back to me baby, I love you.

  27. sixringsofsteel says: Apr 23, 2014 11:06 AM

    Hey Phil…this isn’t the national FUTBOL league its the National FOOTBALL League!1!!!1

  28. thelastwordyaheard says: Apr 23, 2014 11:12 AM

    “..dis a crazy American footsball ..it a Costa him his a health”

  29. dalvar1001 says: Apr 23, 2014 11:18 AM

    Smart man

  30. conormacleod says: Apr 23, 2014 11:33 AM

    iwantrudytodressforme says: Apr 23, 2014 8:03 AM

    dje81 says:
    Apr 23, 2014 6:52 AM
    Must be nice to retire at age 26.

    You know what I’m sick of this line of thinking.
    ——————————-
    I get what you are TRYING to say here. Except, most of what you said is pretty much wrong. These guys see plenty of their family. It’s called the off season. They don’t actually work 10 hours a day on their craft until they become pro’s. And I’m POSITIVE that o-lineman not only eat lots of Doritos, but also plenty of Klondike bars too. While nobody wants back problems or any other health issues, the pro athlete is by and large a very lucky breed to not have to dig ditches for a living. Let’s not pretend they aren’t lucky as hell to become rich from playing a game. And yes, luck has as much to do with it, along with genetics. Hard work usually comes in third behind those two things.

  31. granadafan says: Apr 23, 2014 11:35 AM

    @chihawks4life, it’s clearly evident you’ve never played football in your life, let alone any organized sports with contact.

  32. moondog7 says: Apr 23, 2014 11:44 AM

    chihawks4life says:
    Apr 23, 2014 10:33 AM
    The “day to day physical rigor of the nfl season” ??? Ya must be real hard to play once a week & then get 3-4 days off before watching film on the next team. Sounds real grueling…….especially considering the NFL season has by far the shortest regular& post season out of all the major sports.

    Go out and play a tackle football game vs regular guys right now and tell me how you feel the next 3-4 days after. Can you walk right the next day… probably not. Now do that vs 300 pounders and the best athletes in the world and see if it doesn’t take a toll on you. I hope you were joking if not you’re an idiot.

    Good for him played the game till his body gave out. Every fan out there wishes they had a shot to do the same.

  33. chihawks4life says: Apr 23, 2014 12:15 PM

    First to all my fair weather football fans I did not play a lick of organized football growing up bc I was smarter & chose a more skillful, fast, and tough sport…..Hockey. & the biggest joke here is that u are calling 300 lbers athletes. Athletes don’t need to suck down oxygen after 3 plays that last a total of 30 sec while the rest of the time they are on the field is spent standing around. I like the game but too many of its fans are delusional. Case is point this moondog asking me if I’d be able to walk after a casual tackle football game. The answer would be yes. Although I would much much much rather lace em up n play some puck. U know something with a little skill, speed, and just bc it’s a better sport. I look forward to the response to this although it won’t mean much coming from avid football fans. There’s a reason football is only popular in a country where a slogan is “you have the right to be stupid”. However it doesn’t mean u should be eh football lovers.

  34. jimmysee says: Apr 23, 2014 1:01 PM

    Hockey is the only team sport where you do not have to run.

    You just glide around all day chasing that puck-y thing.

    Never saw the point of that.

    :-)

  35. pwebster919 says: Apr 23, 2014 1:03 PM

    Wifey got in his head.

  36. 49erfan44 says: Apr 23, 2014 2:00 PM

    Put football in the Olympics. Please. See if another country could even smell our jock straps. We hang in there in hockey, lets see who could bang with us in football. I smell a massacre. USA! USA! USA!

  37. theclink12 says: Apr 23, 2014 2:05 PM

    What he really wanted to say was that he got sick of finishing 8-8 every single year.

  38. moondog7 says: Apr 23, 2014 4:31 PM

    I grew up playing football and hockey too so i’m not going to bash hockey its a great sport. To say guys aren’t athletes because they weigh 300 lbs and need air after 3 plays or 30 seconds isn’t right though. How long does a hockey shift last? 30 seconds – a minute tops. I still would like to see you play a tackle football game and try and walk right the next day or 3 days after. Unless your 15-22 years old its not happening. Getting tackled full speed or slammed into the ground is almost like a mini car crash. Both sports are great but take a look at how the retired players for both sports look. Hockey guys seem to be ok maybe missing some teeth. Football guys are all messed up in the head and can barely walk unless they get out early like this guy did.

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