Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pro Bowler gives grim look at NFL experience

Ali Marpet, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Ali Marpet, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

In his time as a Tampa Bay Buccaneers player, offensive guard Ali Marpet skyrocketed from a mid-round pick to a Pro Bowler and one of the best in the league at his position. To this day, he is still the highest-drafted pick out of NCAA Division III football.

At 28 years old, he was by no means the age that many NFL stars retire at, especially for those playing as well as Marpet was. But to many fans’ surprise, Marpet announced his retirement at the end of last season. Unlike Tom Brady, he has made it clear he will not be returning.

Although many Bucs fans were confused as to why he would retire so young, especially in the middle of a 5-year, $54 million contract, the offensive guard’s reasoning is difficult to argue with.

In an interview this week, Marpet explained that the reason he chose to retire when he did, was not because he was tired of football in anyway, but instead because of health concerns.

Marpet suffered a concussion in 2020 which caused him to miss three games. As more and more research comes out, any serious head trauma would be a good enough reason alone to retire.

Aside from the concussion and countless hits to the head he suffered while playing, Marpet also said he struggled with sleep apnea and hypertension.

Both those conditions are caused, or at the very least exacerbated by being overweight, which is required of most offensive linemen. Marpet knew that if he stayed at the weight he was (300+lb.) to continue playing, he would continue to deal with medical issues like the ones he was already experiencing.

As more and more research continues to come out about the effects of head trauma in football and its long-term effects on the brain, Marpet’s early retirement may turn from an anomaly into the norm for many players in the future.

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