Tight end Jordan Cameron decided to step away from the NFL after suffering four concussions in four years, cutting his career short at age 28 after six years in the league.
But to hear him tell it, the decision wasn’t very hard. And his comments afterward might help explain some of the other early retirements we’ve seen in recent years.
Basically, a lot of guys in the NFL simply don’t love the game.
“Do you really love football?” he said. “A lot of guys don’t really love it. There’s a few guys that love it. Ray Lewis loves football. Peyton Manning. They love it. But a lot of guys don’t really love this game, and there are players that will read this who will understand exactly what I’m talking about.”
Cameron was drafted by the Browns in 2011, making the Pro Bowl in his third season with the club. He went on sign a free-agent deal with the Miami Dolphins in 2015, but struggled in his two seasons there.
He says health concerns definitely played a part.
“You’re playing physical and you’re playing an intense, violent game,” Cameron said. “You have to gear yourself up for that, but it’s hard to gear yourself up if you’re thinking about getting hit or what the implications might be.”
It’s not all bad, though. He made plenty of money and got to experience playing at the highest level the sport can offer.
The one thing he’ll miss is the camaraderie.
“Some of the best people I have ever met have been football players,” Cameron said. “Every single guy talks about the locker room and how that’s the thing they will miss. It’s so true. Some of the most down-to-earth, intelligent human beings are in there.”