As time wears on, awareness about concussions and their after-effects on professional football players has become more and more prevalent. And while other teams have been affected by young players stepping away from the game prematurely, the Buffalo Bills haven't seen one of their young players retire.
That is -- until now.
On Wednesday evening Bills linebacker A.J. Tarpley, who spent his first NFL season with the Bills after going undrafted out of Stanford, announced his retirement from the NFL. In his post on Instagram, Tarpley cited the fact that he suffered his third and fourth concussions of his career, and has proactively decided to step away from the game.
Here is Tarpley's post in full:
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. 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. I'd like to extend my gratitude to everyone that helped me along the way. Thank you to my coaches at Wayzata and Stanford, and to lifelong friends that I was blessed to call teammates. You all molded me into the man I am today. To my family, I'll never be able to repay your unwavering support and love, I just hope that I can continue to show how gracious I am and make you proud. I also want to thank the Buffalo Bills organization, coaches, and teammates for helping me fulfill my lifelong dream in the NFL. Last but not least, I'm proud to be a part of #BillsMafia and playing in front of the best fans in the league is something I won't forget. Thank you God for all that you have blessed me ?. I'm excited for my future.