Ex-NFL offensive lineman Mike Harris will file retirement papers next month, resigned to the fact that a congenital brain condition prematurely ended his career.
“For a long time, I was really depressed about the whole situation, but I finally am in the light,’’ Harris said, via Chris Tomasson of the Twin Cities Pioneer Press. “At the end of the day, I want to live to be a grown man. Football gave me a good life. I had been playing since I was 10 years old.
“When it first happened, I didn’t want to talk to the media and any of my teammates, but I’m in a better place now. It took a while, but I know my life comes over football.’’
Following an organized team activity with the Vikings in 2016, Harris felt like he was “having a stroke.” Tests at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester diagnosed a brain arteriovenous malformation, a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain.
The Vikings initially put Harris on the non-football injury list, paying him $500,000 for last season, before waiving him in February. He hoped to resume his career, but doctors recommended he quit.
He played five seasons, the last three with the Vikings, and made 33 career starts and $3.5 million, per Tomasson.
Harris, who soon will undergo a procedure at the Mayo Clinic, is expected to live a normal life with only a 5 percent chance of a recurrence of AVM.
“It’s unfortunate my career has come to an end, but I’m just happy I can walk on my own two feet and I can be there for my family in my future,’’ Harris, 28, said.