A Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman pursuing a doctorate in mathematics announced his retirement from professional football on Thursday, and team officials said a study linking NFL players to brain disease was a factor in his decision.
We have surprising news today as offensive lineman John Usrchel has chose to retire from the NFL. "We appreciate his efforts over the past three years and wish him all the best in his future endeavors".
Urschel earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees in mathematics from Penn State and is now working on his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), studying spectral graph theory, numerical linear algebra and machine learning. A graduate of Penn State University, Urschel was a fifth-round draft pick in 2014 and spent three seasons with the Ravens. "It wasn't an easy decision, but I believe it was the right one for me".
Urschel played at Penn State and earned his bachelor's and master's in mathematics, seemingly defying all laws of time-management. Ludmil Zikatanov, who taught Urschel as an undergrad and master's student at Penn State, told The Washington Post a year ago.
But for all his football achievements, Urschel was even more accomplished off the field.
In January, Urschel told HBO's "Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel" that his passion for playing football outweighs the risks of suffering head trauma. According to Urschel's MIT biography, his areas of research include spectral graph theory, numerical PDE's, matrix algebra, computational finance and mathematical physics, among others.
Urschel has said in the past he envisions a "bright career" for himself in mathematics. "It took me about three weeks before I was football ready".
It has been speculated that Urschel could have made a decision to call it quits following a critical CTE study that was released recently in which a vast majority of the brains of National Football League players showed signs of the brain disease. I don't know if they'll do it after me.
"Objectively, I shouldn't", he wrote. I'm extremely grateful to the Ravens and blessed to have been able to play the game I love at the highest level. Previously, he played in all 16 games in 2015, making seven starts at center. "This is a feeling I'm (for lack of a better word) addicted to, and I'm hard-pressed to find anywhere else".