Bills linebacker A.J. Tarpley announces retirement, citing concussions

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Whether former 49er Chris Borland is right that early retirements will become the new normal remains to be seen, but another linebacker has decided to hang it up after one season.

Bills linebacker A.J. Tarpley announced his retirement tonight via social media, citing concerns about concussions alongside a picture of him sitting on the turf after a play against the Jets.

“The only thing comforting about not knowing this play would be the last of my career, is knowing that I never took a second for granted,” he wrote. “After months of introspection, I am retiring from football. I suffered the 3rd and 4th concussions of my career this past season and I am walking away from the game I love to preserve my future health.

“This decision is the hardest I’ve made yet but after much research and contemplation I believe it’s what is best for me going forward.”

Tarpley made the Bills last year as an undrafted rookie from Stanford and played in 14 games, starting two. While he wasn’t the contributor Borland was during his rookie year, he showed some degree of promise before walking away while he could.

19 responses to “Bills linebacker A.J. Tarpley announces retirement, citing concussions

  1. I can respect his decision. While I played football in Jr High & High School, I’ve decided to not let my kid play until high school, and then he gets 1 free concussion. His second concussion means he’s done.

  2. 2 picks against the Jets in the last game. Showed promise. I guess if you go to Stanford. You don’t need to get your head bashed in to make money. I don’t blame him. He has other options.

  3. A man follows his heart. Mr Tarpley is setting/continuing an example of making the right decision for himself. Not bending to pressure from outside sources and taking care of his future health now. As well should.

  4. Good for him, has a Stanford degree and can move forward with his life. But a lot of people not only in football but boxing, ufc, coal miners, etc etc etc who are just trying to make a living they don’t have other options. I would of been more respectful of him if he just retired and moved on with his life. No reason for him to give the interview because we all know that going forward, what ever he does, he will promote that he played in the nfl and that will open doors for him. As for his other buddy from Stanford and all his interviews but can’t move on with his life. That guy I have a problem with because he to a profiting off the nfl and should refuse all interviews but he doesn’t.

  5. Dug not so easy for a lot of people in life and we are not talking about making ten dollars per hour in the nfl. Realize he will use his time in the nfl to his benefit.

  6. Convenient excuse. He sucked, so he quit. His hand is now out for a bazillion dollars that will (hopefully) never be there. It’s football. Trump is right: the wussification of America needs to stop!

  7. I was looking forward to seeing this kid develop as I felt he had potential.

    Much respect for making his long term health the priority and good luck to him in the future.

  8. If he graduated Stanford and has any brains at all he can probably walk into a job that pays almost as much if as he was making as an UDFA.

    Normally I’d wonder what guys are thinking to not try and stick it out in the league for a few years and cash in, but it sounds like this guy was hanging by a thread anyway.

  9. Remains to be seen? In denial much? It is the new norm already. As much as I love football no way my boy is playing till high school if that. CTE is real and prevalent. It scares the heck out of me as a former high football and hockey player. Hockey was way crazier by the way. Faster and much much harder hits. Not even close, I was seeing stars every game not to mention intense practice against seniors..

  10. Great move A.J. It may be difficult for you now, but in 30 years you’ll look back and realize this was one of the best decisions you ever made.

    Have a wonderful, happy life post the NFL.

  11. The timing is very odd. I think had the Bills not signed a bunch of linebackers (because he would have been in line to get a crack at the starting job) he probably would not have retired. Now that he was relegated back to his usual special teams work I don’t blame him. With 4 concussions already in his 3rd year and no shot at more playing time, possibly setting himself up for life after football, now having to FOCUS on special teams, where really the most damage is being done to you as far as CTE is concerned…I get it. He probably would have been released anyway during camp.

  12. I repeat: the NFL is in trouble. Seeing young players quit over fears of long term medical problems is unprecedented.

    I talk with parents of kids who are adamant they will not let them play football. I have a 12 year old grandson. My son won’t let him play, either.

    I think this is the reason behind Goodell pushing to play games in other countries.

  13. Juxtapose this story (along with Borland and Megatron) and the recent declaration by JJ Watt that he may walk away before long against the recent attempts by the NFL to expand the season to 18 games and expand the post-season and you’ll know how much the League “cares” about the players.

    The NFL is killing the NFL by slow torture. Drip, drip…

  14. Retirement is part of every occupation for one reason or another. There’s always someone willing to take your place.

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