Fairley's future in the league has been put into serious question due to his heart condition, as he will be sidelined for the entire 2017 season. It comes just a year after the 29-year-old recorded career highs with 43 tackles (29 solo) and 6.5 sacks across 16 games in New Orleans. A devastating blow for the Saints defense, David Onyemata and Tony McDaniel will now be the frontrunners to replace Fairley on the line. At this point, it seems like the safest option for Fairley is to hang up the cleats for good.
While the specifics of Fairley's heart condition aren't all known, at least one doctor who evaluated him advised that he retire. The Saints have expressed concern for the defensive tackle's health, saying they only want him to play if there is complete confidence in his ability to remain healthy. It's unclear when the parties will make a final decision on Fairley's future, but the results of each additional medical opinion could play a large role in the final outcome. Fairley signed an extension with New Orleans in March and, if healthy, is very much a part of the team's future plans on defense.
Fairley has been absent from OTAs due to a heart issue that could jeopardize his career, FOX Sports' Jennifer Hale reports.
The specifics of Fairley's conditioned aren't clear, but he's presumably set to undergo more testing so more details should come to light in due time. The former first-rounder is coming off the most productive season of his six-year career and losing him would throw a wrench in the Saints' plans defensive plans for 2017.
Fairley was signed to a one-year deal with New Orleans last season and he produced career highs with 43 tackles and 6.5 sacks. His deal locks him up with the team through his age 33 season. Expect Fairley to start along the defensive line once again in 2017.
After back-to-back disappointing seasons in Detroit and St. Louis, respectively, Fairley signed with New Orleans this offseason and returned to being a disruptive force on the interior of the defensive line. In fact, Fairley finished in a tie for fifth among NFL defensive tackles in total sacks in 2016. Fairley is a free agent this offseason, but he should likely start wherever he lands after his bounceback campaign.
|7||10/22/17||@ GB||1:00 pm|
|10||11/12/17||@ BUF||1:00 pm|
|12||11/26/17||@ LAR||4:05 pm|
|14||12/7/17||@ ATL||8:25 pm|
|17||12/31/17||@ TB||1:00 pm|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|