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More and more players in their early and mid 20’s have been retiring from football in the past few years than all the previous years of the league being in existence combined. Some players have called it quits over fear of head injuries and wanting to protect themselves for the rest of their lives and some other players have had to retire from the result of an injury. In the case of Zachary Orr of the Baltimore Ravens, his reasoning for retiring at age 24 somewhat has to do with both reasons.


Speaking at a news conference, Orr said he was “kind of forced to walk away” after an MRI for a herniated disc revealed the neck/spine condition.

Orr played in 15 games for the Ravens this season, but missed Week 17 with what was listed as a neck injury. After an MRI he learned about his condition, which would leave him with serious damage if he continued to play football.

Orr’s agent, Rob Sheets, said neck specialist Andrew Dossett informed Orr two weeks ago of his condition. Dossett told Orr his C1 vertebra was only 80 percent formed and that he would be unable to pass a physical to play football again, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported.

It’s ironic that had Orr never gotten hurt at the end of the season and hadn’t gone for the MRI, nobody would be the wiser and he would still be playing football next season. While for his career that is bad news, for his personal health, it’s great that it was caught.

Safe to say the Ravens organization was caught off guard by all of this.

“When I got the news about Zach, I had to do a double take because I never expected to hear something like that,” general manager Ozzie Newsome said via the team’s official website. “I don’t think there has been any player that has been more inspirational to me over the last three years than Zach.”

The former undrafted free agent appeared ready to continue Baltimore’s legacy of do-everything linebackers. In 2016, he led the team with 130 tackles and was second on the team with three interceptions. It was his first season as a full-time NFL starter after playing sparingly his first two seasons.