Former Virginia standout offensive tackle Eugene Monroe announced his retirement Thursday morning. A first round NFL Draft pick at No. 8 in 2009, Monroe spent four and a half seasons, 2009-2013 with the Jacksonville Jaguars before being traded during the 2013 season to the Baltimore Ravens, where he stayed until 2015.
“The last 18 years have been full of traumatic injuries to both my head and my body,” Monroe said in his retirement post. To be clear, he wasn’t complaining -- that’s just the way football is, for now. “Has the damage to my brain already been done? Do I have CTE? I hope I don’t, but over 90% of the brains of former NFL players that have been examined showed signs of the disease. I am terrified.”
At age 29, he’s thinking about his health, his family, and his future. He describes his career as “a never-ending cycle: injury, shake it off, “recover,” repeat.”
According to ESPN, “Monroe started only 17 games in two seasons since receiving $17.5 million in guaranteed money as part of the five-year, $37.5 million deal he signed with the Ravens in 2014. He missed time because of four injuries since the start of the 2014 season: knee (four games), ankle (three), concussion (three) and shoulder (two).”
Monroe has been, and continues to be, a vocal advocate of medical marijuana to treat chronic pain and head injuries. You can read his post on pain, medical marijuana, Toradol, and what the NFL is doing, here.