Zach Orr says he’s “forced to walk away” because of neck condition

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Ravens linebacker Zach Orr is retiring not because he wants to, but because doctors are telling him he has to.

Orr says an examination on a herniated disc revealed that he has a rare neck condition that could result in a serious, life-changing injury if he continued to play. As a result, he’s walking away from football at age 24.

“I’m blessed and thankful that I’m able to walk away from the game in good health,” Orr said.

After initially making the Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2014 by playing special teams, Orr emerged as a very good starting linebacker in Baltimore during the 2016 season. There was talk that he could be due for a big contract this offseason, but now he’s done playing football entirely.

Still, Orr seemed to be in good spirits, saying that he’s going to stay active in his community and in mentoring young men. Ravens coach John Harbaugh and G.M. Ozzie Newsome both called Orr a fine young man who has a bright future ahead of him. Just not on the field.

37 responses to “Zach Orr says he’s “forced to walk away” because of neck condition

  1. Smart man. His NFL pay will have given him a serious leg up on his life and he can take advantage of that to be in far better shape than most people his age.

  2. People who said he was lazy or dumb for not cashing in before retiring should take this moment and think about assuming stuff.

    Keep Safe Orr, might be a less than you should, but use the money you won doing something you love.

  3. Wow, he was such a pleasant suprise for he Ravens and really had a great year. Enjoy the rest of your life and sorry you couldn’t make more of the great work you put in going from an Undrafted free agent to leading tackler on the 7th best D in the NFL.

  4. That sucks. He worked his butt off for his dream and suddenly has it ripped away. But when the neck is involved there’s little choice.

    Oh, and I assume everyone in the other thread who blamed him for “quitting” on his team will be here to apologize.

  5. A very smart decision for him to have the maturity to make. Sad because of his emerging talent.

    He did not get national press, but was about to in the years to come. He had an incredible year and was a call-back to some of the great sideline to sideline linebacker play that dominated the football of yesteryear.

    This guy was about to hit his prime and be a freaking star. But kudos to him for making the correct, albeit difficult, choice.

  6. I always have thought of the Ravens as the purple browns, but it sucks to see someone with such potential have to give it up over health issues. It sounds like that’s definitely the right choice to make though. Good luck to him going forward, seems like a good dude. I hope he does well.

  7. As a Pats fan I don’t watch the Ravens much but hey, up hear, we have to like the guy with a last name like that. All kidding aside, I was aware of his play because of statements made by BB and others. He was a player that was always mentioned when discussing their defense and he will be missed. At the same time, for his and his families sake, I am glad to hear he is taking the advice of his Dr’s.

    Good Luck

  8. Maybe after a couple years of pursuing other options for his life, Zach would be open to at least coaching for the Ravens.

    Best of luck to you in life, Zach. Your career was super brief in Baltimore, but you made quite an impression among Ravens fans.

  9. Steve Smith #89 broke his neck in college and some thought he would never be able to play again. The rest is history.

    That said, not everyone is like #89 and Orr is smart to walk away rather than take the chance of a permanent disability.

  10. Real good player. Seems like he’s earned a lot through his own abilities. Smart with determination and discipline. We can all assume he do well in the future. Good luck, sir and thank you.

  11. as much as i hate to say this because of how important he was to our secondary, But I hope Aaron Williams is reading…
    This guy is making the right decision and I hope Williams does too.

  12. The phrase is “walk away”. NFL players suffer nasty long term injuries, but not being able to walk due to paralysis is terrifying.

    I broke my neck snowboarding years ago and I was paralyzed for a while. I’ve never been so scared in my life. I completely understand why Orr walked away. At least he can.

  13. The fan in me is upset that such a young, talented player is retiring at such a young age. The rational human being in me understands how vital it is to walk away from such a dangerous sport. You were fun to watch, Mr. Orr. Good luck in the next chapter of your life.

    -Ravens fan

  14. Hmmm.

    I wonder what Mr. Orr majored in at North Texas State. Certainly he will put his studies to work, won’t he? Or did he even graduate at all?

    This is not to say that I don’t wish him well. I do. But it should be a shining example for the overwhelming number of players that getting your education is the #1 priority in college.

  15. bondlake says:
    Jan 20, 2017 3:10 PM

    Hmmm.

    I wonder what Mr. Orr majored in at North Texas State. Certainly he will put his studies to work, won’t he? Or did he even graduate at all?

    This is not to say that I don’t wish him well. I do. But it should be a shining example for the overwhelming number of players that getting your education is the #1 priority in college.
    _________________________________

    Some of them do not waste their chance at a free education. Cowboys back up OT, Emmitt Cleary, has already been accepted to medical school.

  16. bondlake says:
    Jan 20, 2017 3:10 PM

    Hmmm.

    I wonder what Mr. Orr majored in at North Texas State. Certainly he will put his studies to work, won’t he? Or did he even graduate at all?

    This is not to say that I don’t wish him well. I do. But it should be a shining example for the overwhelming number of players that getting your education is the #1 priority in college.
    _____________________________________
    What an ignorant comment. First of all, you have the internet and could have searched him and you would have realized he was a member of the Conference USA All Academic team, so his education was a priority. Second of all, I doubt you expressed this same “concern” for the white football Chris Borland when he retired in his early 20’s last year.

  17. jakec4 says:
    Jan 20, 2017 11:17 AM
    Even worse he was a rising star

    ———————————–

    At least he wasn’t a stabbing star like Ray Lewis, am I right?

  18. Zach Orr graduated with a Graduated with a degree in kinesiology. Did his four years and got his degree. For those who think he is nothing but a dumb jock.

    Glad he is getting out on Two Feet than a stretcher.

  19. Sorry to see you leave Zach, you’re a great football player and a testament to hard work and determination.

    But we the Ravens fans would much rather see you healthy and living your life to the fullest. All the best to you and whatever your future holds!

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