Kidney disease forces former Bills, Patriots wide receiver Donald Jones into retirement

Brian McIntyre
Shutdown Corner

On March 15, wide receiver Donald Jones signed a three-year, $3.41 million contract with the New England Patriots. Jones went through the offseason workout program with the Patriots, but was released before training camp and now his NFL career is over.

Jones took to his Twitter account on Wednesday to announce that his kidney disease has worsened to the point he can no longer continue his career.

"As some of you may know, I have been suffering from a kidney disease throughout my entire life. As a result of recent advances in my disease, I am no longer able to pursue my career in the National Football League. Playing in the NFL was a lifelong dream of mine, and though I have the opportunity to continue my career, stepping away from the game is absolutely best decision for my family and for my health.

"While it will be difficult, I am comforted by the love and support of my family, friends and doctors and am excited about my continued involvement with the various kidney foundations I've worked with in raising awareness for health, nutrition, preventative medicine and kidney disease.

"I want to thank the Buffalo Bills organization, especially Chan Gailey and Buddy Nix, for allowing me to pursue my NFL dream and Coach Gailey for changing my life. I also want to thank the New England Patriots and their doctors for assisting my medical team in fighting this disease.

"Thank you all for your prayers and wishes."

According to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports 1, Jones suffers from lgA nephropathy and his decision to retire was reached when he had abnormally high blood pressure during a recent physical with the Indianapolis Colts. Jones also told Garafolo that his decision to not take medications prescribed to him by doctors earlier in his career out of the fear it would affect his on-field performance may have accelerated an increase to his creatinine levels, which are approaching the levels that would require a transplant.

Jones, 25, signed with the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent out of Youngstown State in 2010. In 35 games, including 22 starts, in three seasons with the Bills, Jones caught 82 passes for 887 yards and six touchdowns. Jones was coming off the best season of his career, catching 44 passes for 443 yards and four touchdowns in 2012.