Ex-Ravens LB Zach Orr announces he's retiring for a second time this offseason

Zach Orr announced Friday that he has retired for good. (AP)
Zach Orr announced Friday that he has retired for good. (AP)

Zach Orr wanted to play in the NFL again, but no team would clear him. So he retired for a second time this offseason.

Orr, the Ravens’ leading tackler last season and a rising star at linebacker, announced that he’s retiring for good in The Players’ Tribune and explained what happened this offseason.

Orr retired at just 24 years old earlier this offseason because the Ravens’ spine specialist told him he had an underdeveloped C-1 vertebrae and was at risk of dying if he got hit the wrong way, according to his Players’ Tribune story. So he retired. Then he talked to other players who had been through similar situations and played, so he consulted two other doctors who said he didn’t necessarily have to retire from football. He announced a comeback.

“I chose to come back on my own because like I said, after my family, football is my greatest love,” Orr wrote. “And when I saw a slight glimmer of hope that I could return to the field, I wanted to give it a shot.”

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He went to the Ravens first, but they wouldn’t pass him. He said he met in person with five other teams and talked on the phone to 11 more and none of them would clear him to play. They were either concerned about his C-1 or a herniated disc, or some damage to his spinal cord as a result of the herniated disc.

“Six teams in person, 11 more over the phone — that’s 17 teams, more than half the league — and I couldn’t get one to give me the green light,” Orr wrote. “Because at the end of the day, my spine was too jacked up.

“And no team wants to be the one that has a player die on the field.”

It was a bit odd that a player with Orr’s skill level and age didn’t find a job immediately, and now we know why. At least now Orr can go into retirement with no unanswered questions.

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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!