Carl Nicks, still affected from MRSA infection, steps away from NFL

Tampa Bay Buccaneers injured guard Carl Nicks (77) talks to side receiver Lavelle Hawkins during an NFL football minicamp Thursday, June 12, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Carl Nicks was a first-team All-Pro for New Orleans in 2011, at age 26. By age 29, after just nine more NFL games, he might be done with football because of a MRSA infection suffered last year.

Nicks was excused from Buccaneers camp for personal reasons on Thursday. By Friday the Buccaneers announced that they and the guard had agreed to part ways. Nicks suffered a toe injury as part of the MRSA infection at the Buccaneers facility last year, and never got over it.

In a statement he indicated he'll take some time off football.

"I'd like to think the Buccaneers organization for working with me as I have attempted to get myself back on the football field," Nicks said in a statement, via the Tampa Bay Times. "However, after careful consideration, I have made the decision to step away from the game. This was by no means an easy decision, but I believe that it was what is best for me and my family, as well as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers."

While the wording of the statement doesn't specifically say he's retiring, and therefore maybe keeping the door open for a return, his health would have to cooperate. The fact that it hasn't in about a year is why he made this decision.

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Nicks had been limited all offseason, after playing just two games last year following the infection. Nicks was infected during training camp, then had a recurrence after playing in two games. He had surgery to get rid of the infection last October. But he was never fully healthy this offseason. The Buccaneers and Nicks came to an "amicable settlement," according to Fox's Jay Glazer. One would guess that settlement might include an agreement that Nicks can't sue the team.

Nicks got $25 million guaranteed when he left the Saints to sign with the Buccaneers. Surely, he didn't want his career to end this way, and neither did the Buccaneers. The MRSA infection that brought plenty of negative headlines to the Buccaneers in 2013 will keep affecting the team in 2014 and beyond.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!