Cardinals rookie Swope retires due to concussions

Cardinals rookie receiver Ryan Swope retires due to lingering concussion problems.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Ryan Swope's NFL career ended before it began Thursday, as the rookie receiver selected by the Arizona Cardinals in the sixth round of April's draft retired due to lingering concussion problems.

The Cardinals convened at University of Phoenix Stadium to open camp with a brief team conditioning test, but Swope was not present. The team later announced that Swope had been placed on the reserve/retired list.

The 22-year-old former Texas A&M star also missed most of the Cardinals' organized team activities earlier this summer due to concussion symptoms related to head injuries suffered in college.

Swope released a statement late Thursday afternoon through Rep 1 Sports, the agency that represents him, revealing in a series of posts on Twitter that he had suffered another concussion during OTAs:

"As a result of a concussion I suffered during OTAs, I was advised by doctors that there were serious risks in returning to play football at this point. It has been a lifelong dream to play in the NFL but my long-term health interests outweigh my current goals for football.

"Because of that, I am electing to retire from the game for now and then reassess my future after this season. In the meantime, I plan to return to Texas A&M to pursue my degree. I want to thank the Arizona Cardinals organization for the opportunity and their support. I wish the team much success this season."

Reports about how many concussions Swope suffered in college varied, ranging from two to four. But Swope convinced the Cardinals enough in pre-draft workouts that he was healthy enough to draft and sign to a four-year rookie deal.

"We knew Ryan has a concussion history in college and understood that it could possibly be an issue," Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said in a press release. "But weighing all the elements -- the medical information available, the particular position in the draft -- it was a decision we were comfortable making.

"As it turned out, he had a setback after he got here. Over the course of the subsequent evaluations, we all decided that Ryan’s long-term well-being was the (top) priority and this was the best course to take."

Swope was one of Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel's top targets at Texas A&M last season, finishing his senior season with 72 catches for 913 yards and a team-leading eight touchdowns.

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