Baltimore Ravens linebacker Zach Orr missed the team’s Week 17 game with what the team said was a neck injury. He was put on injured reserve, but it didn’t seem like a big deal. The Ravens were already eliminated from a playoff spot. The Baltimore media didn’t make a big deal out of it.
A few weeks later, Orr retired after just three NFL seasons. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Orr retired because of a “serious injury.” The Ravens couldn’t talk him out of it, Rapoport said.
Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun said Orr is retiring due to a congenital neck condition. He didn’t sound concerned about it when the season ended, but further tests showed the condition. Orr was on the verge of getting a restricted free-agent tender this offseason worth more than $2.5 million, Zrebiec said.
It’s a huge loss for the Ravens. Orr led the team with 132 tackles, 40 more than anyone else on the defense. Orr was a backup his first two seasons, but flourished as a first-time starter in 2016. He was an up-and-coming star for the Ravens, and now he’s retired at age 24.
We have seen other NFL players retire suddenly and at a young age in recent years. The most famous example is probably San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland, who retired after a good rookie season, citing concussion concerns. Now the Ravens have lost their own young inside linebacker after a breakout season.
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