Dielman retires due to concussion
The four-time Pro Bowl left guard wanted to return next season, but doctors cautioned against it, saying his long-term quality of life could suffer if he continued playing.
Dielman, 31, suffered the concussion Oct. 23 in the fourth quarter of a road game against the Jets. With the team out of available linemen due to other injuries, he played the rest of the game before doctors diagnosed the concussion.
Dielman then suffered a grand mal seizure on the flight back to San Diego and was hospitalized overnight. He missed the rest of the season, and his situation prompted the NFL to train referees to recognize when a player is showing symptoms of a concussion.
"I love this game. I've given it everything I have," Dielman said in a statement released by the team. "It's time for me to focus on my future and my quality of life.
"I want to thank the Spanos family and the Chargers for giving me the opportunity in the NFL. Because they believed in me, I was able to realize a dream and for that I will be forever grateful."
Dielman, who was a defensive lineman and tight end at Indiana, was undrafted in 2003 and signed with the Chargers, who converted him to an offensive lineman. He went on to four straight Pro Bowls from 2007-10.
Head coach Norv Turner called Dielman "one of the most competitive, physical and dependable players I have ever been around."
Quarterback Philip Rivers effusively praised his longtime teammate, saying he was a big factor in the team's success, including four AFC West titles from 2006-09.
"As a player, you wish you had 53 Kris Dielmans on your team, just because of how much he cared and how hard he played. We won a bunch of games because of him," said Rivers.