After several players retired this offseason because of the long-term effects of playing football, Baltimore Ravens guard John Urschel wrote why he wants to continue playing football in an article for The Players’ Tribune.
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland, 24, retired earlier this week, citing concerns over the safety of playing football. 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis, 30, retired last week with similar concerns.
While it is assumed that money is the primary motivation for players risking their health to play in the NFL, Urschel said that is not the case for him
“I have the means to make a good living and provide for my family, without playing football,” Urschel wrote. “I have no desire to try to accumulate $10 million in the bank; I already have more money in my bank account than I know what to do with. I drive a used hatchback Nissan Versa and live on less than $25k a year. It’s not because I’m frugal or trying to save for some big purchase, it’s because the things I love the most in this world (reading math, doing research, playing chess) are very, very inexpensive.”
It should be noted that the 23-year-old Urschel was selected with a fifth-round pick in the 2014 draft, so his earnings are lower in comparison to some veteran players.
“I play because I love the game. I love hitting people. There’s a rush you get when you go out on the field, lay everything on the line and physically dominate the player across from you. This is a feeling I’m (for lack of a better word) addicted to, and I’m hard-pressed to find anywhere else. My teammates, friends and family can attest to this: When I go too long without physical contact I’m not a pleasant person to be around. This is why, every offseason, I train in kickboxing and wrestling in addition to my lifting, running and position-specific drill work. I’ve fallen in love with the sport of football and the physical contact associated with it.”
Urschel’s article can be read here.
- Brad Rowland