Eugene Monroe, 29, retires, cites concerns with effects of head injuries

Eugene Monroe is retiring after seven NFL seasons. Originally selected by the Jaguars with the No. 8 pick in the 2009 draft, Monroe spent the last 2.5 seasons with the Ravens. He never lived up to his pre-draft billing as a franchise offensive tackle, but he was a solid player who started 90 games in his career.

Monroe is still nine months from his 30th birthday, but like many young players, he's decided to retire during his prime, in part because of concerns about his health as he gets older.

"The last 18 years have been full of traumatic injuries to both my head and my body," Monroe wrote Thursday on ThePlayersTribune.com. "I'm not complaining, just stating a fact. Has the damage to my brain already been done? Do I have CTE? I hope I don't, but over 90% of the brains of former NFL players that have been examined showed signs of the disease. I am terrified.

"My wife used to joke about the 'little things I forget,' but now she's more concerned about things like me putting my phone in the freezer and then tearing up our house looking for it. Things like that were just a joke around the house until this past winter, when my four-year-old daughter said, 'Daddy you don't remember anything!' Since then, she's said it a few more times.

"That's why one of the first things I'm planning to do is to go to the doctor. I need to take stock of my current health, and I don't want to miss a thing. I'm going to get brain and body imaging scans, mental health assessments - anything that might help me get a handle on the state of my body and my mind. My health is critical to the future of my family."

Eugene Monroe says he's concerned about memory loss. USATSI

In April, Bills linebacker A.J. Tarpley announced his retirement after just one season because he was concerned about concussions. He was 23 at the time.

Tarpley's announcement came days after former 49ers linebacker Chris Borland, who retired last offseason after just one NFL season, said that early retirement could become a trend in the NFL.

"Well, I think an old adage is that you play till the wheels fall off," Borland, 24, told the Detroit Free Press at the time. "You play till you can't anymore. You have to be carried off the field. I think that'll change."

In March, Husain Abdullah, 30, announced that he was retiring after seven NFL seasons, in part because of the concussions he suffered during his career.

Monroe said earlier this offseason that the NFL should reconsider its stance on marijuana due to the possible benefits as it relates to pain relief and maybe even concussions.If you play professional football, "your job automatically gives you the symptom of chronic pain," Monroe told CNN.com at the time.

"You're hitting each other as hard as possible every single day in practice. Your body is in pain a lot of time."

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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