Los Angeles Chargers safety Nasir Adderley announced Thursday that he is retiring from the NFL despite being just 25 years old.
Adderley played four seasons for the Chargers after being drafted by the team in the second round of the 2019 NFL draft. He quickly became an integral part of the Chargers’ defense, recording more than 230 tackles, a dozen passes defended, and several interceptions.
In a statement, Adderley said he reached his decision after choosing to prioritize his health.
"After a period of self reflection, I have decided it's time for me to walk away from the game of football," Adderley wrote on Instagram.
"Over the past couple of years I have denied this realization, but I'm finally going to put myself first for once," he added. "My health is above anything and everyone around me knows that."
Adderley went on to explain:
Truly over-standing my purpose has given me the confidence knowing I don't belong [sic] an employee anymore. My purpose involves spending more time with my loved ones, business ownership and chasing my passion of true liberation.
With that being said, it has been a dream come true to play in the NFL and have the opportunity to play for the Chargers organization. I believe I have yet to scratch the surface of the player I could be, but if it’s at the expense of my peace of mind then it’s no longer for me.
Adderley's retirement after just four years in the NFL is perhaps not strange. After all, the average NFL career spans just three or four seasons.
But what makes it unusual is that Adderley was not forced out of the league because of injury or because he was not getting playing time. He was a starting defensive player for the Chargers for the past three seasons, and he is leaving the league in the prime of his career.
Health concerns among professional football players are receiving greater attention after Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin experienced cardiac arrest in the middle of a game.
Just three weeks ago, Byron Jones, who at one point was the highest-paid cornerback in the league, warned of the health perils associated with success in professional football.
Shockingly, Jones, who set the broad jump record at the 2015 NFL Combine, revealed he cannot run or jump any more because of injuries and medications he has taken as an NFL player.
"Much has changed in 8 years. Today I can’t run or jump because of my injuries sustained playing this game," he said. "DO NOT take the pills they give you. DO NOT take the injections they give you. If you absolutely must, consult an outside doctor to learn the long-term implications."
The eight-season veteran also warned players that the millions of dollars available to players do not outweigh the health risks of professional football.
"It was an honor and privilege to play in the NFL but it came at a regrettable cost I did not foresee," he said. "In my opinion, no amount of professional success or financial gain is worth avoidable chronic pain and disabilities. Godspeed to the draft class of 2023."
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