Apparently, 30 is the new 40 in the National Football League. Jerod Mayo, the linebacker for the New England Patriots, is the latest star player to announce his retirement.
The two time Pro Bowler announced via Instagram that he is retiring. Mayo was the No. 10 overall pick of the 2008 draft out of Tennessee, and was the NFL’s Defensive Rookie Player of the Year.
“After a lot of thought [Mayo’s wife] Chantel and I take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude for what we consider a life changing event…..that of becoming a New England Patriot for the past 8 years,” Mayo said on Instagram. “We are extremely grateful to ‘Thundercat’ [Patriots owner Robert Kraft], [Patriots president] Jonathan [Kraft], the Kraft family, Coach [Bill] Belichick, the Pats organization, and the most amazing fans in contributing to these pages of our lives.
“As my family and I prepare for the future be sure that the Pats memories will always hold a special place in our hearts. #51 JMayo.”
Mayo’s retirement gives further voice to what I believe is a growing trend in the NFL, in which players are beginning to retire ‘early’. For years, we are accustomed to seeing players hang on until their skills diminish.
Mayo can still perform at a high level, but injuries have taken their toll. He finished each of the past three seasons on injured reserve.
He joins running back Marshawn Lynch, and possibly Lions’ wide receiver Calvin Johnson, as top tier players 30 and under, who have decided (and seriously contemplating in the case of Johnson) retirement.
Last spring San Francisco’s Patrick Willis retired at 30, because of injuries, and teammate Chris Borland, retired after one season in the NFL because of health concerns.
Beast Mode, Megatron retiring?
Brain injuries and the long term health of players after football have been at issue in recent years. And last fall the release of the movie ‘Concussion’, shed an enormous spotlight on the issue.
Of course, it will always be hard to say there is a definite shift to playing the game shorter. On the same day Mayo announced his retirement. A Pittsburgh’s James Harrison just announced he will return for his 14th season at the age of 37.