Jacob Bell's abrupt retirement from the NFL, just a month after signing with the Cincinnati Bengals has come into a little clearer focus, thanks to an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Bell said he was concerned about his overall quality of life and his health after his playing career was finished, and decided to get out of football while he was still healthy at age 31.
“One of my biggest concerns when it comes to the game in general is my personal health. One thing that's obviously on the minds of a lot of people lately is brain research and all the stuff that's going on with that. One of the big things that I thought about when I was considering this is how much do I love the game? How much can they pay me to take away my health and my future and being able to be with my family and just have a healthy lifestyle?”
The ramifications of everything from concussions to knee problems entered his thinking on the matter. He cited that he didn't want to struggle with knee problems the way his former line coach in Tennessee, Mike Munchak (now the Titans head coach), has from playing 13 years in the NFL. Even more of a concern, he said, was the suicide of Chargers legend Junior Seau last week, something Bell called “the cherry on top” regarding his decision to walk away from football.
“It's just crazy to see how someone like Junior Seau took his own life over — God knows what he was really struggling and dealing with. But you have to believe it came from the game of football. I want to get out before the game makes me get out, where I can get out on my own terms, and I can limit the amount of stress and negative impact that the game would leave on me.”
Bell admits that the trade-off of risk of further or future injury might have been worth it if he were still a big-money player, but when weighed against the $825,000 veteran minimum he signed for in Cincinnati, that walking away became his best option.
Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com