John Urschel, a Baltimore Ravens’ offensive lineman and PhD candidate in applied mathematics at MIT, has announced his retirement from football at the age of 26. The announcement comes just days after publication of a case study that found widespread signs of a degenerative brain disease among football players who donated their brains to research.
“This morning John Urschel informed me of his decision to retire from football,” Ravens’ coach John Harbaugh said in a statement. “We respect John and respect his decision. We appreciate his efforts over the past three years and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
Urschel played with the Ravens for three seasons and was competing for the starting center job. Thus far, he has not publicly discussed his reasoning for the early and abrupt retirement, which was announced just before the first full-team practice. However, a team source told ESPN that his decision was linked to the new brain study.