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Patriots Player Abruptly Retires Just a Week After Signing New Deal

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On May 13, the New England Patriots signed offensive tackle Jared Veldheer to add some depth on their offensive line.

But on Tuesday, just over a week later, the team reported that Veldheer had been “placed on the Reserve/Retired List.”

According to ESPN, Veldheer had told the team he was retiring.

Veldheer, 31, played nine seasons in the NFL, including four with the Oakland Raiders from 2010 to 2013, four with the Arizona Cardinals from 2014 to 2017, and one with the Denver Broncos last season.

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The 6-foot-8, 321-pound lineman was selected with the 69th pick of the 2010 NFL draft by the Raiders. He attended Hillsdale College, a Division II school in Michigan.

Veldheer started in 113 of the 118 regular season games he played. He also appeared in three playoff games with Arizona in 2015 and 2016.

Veldheer walked away from some serious money, according the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin.

He would have earned $1.25 million even if he was cut. That number would have grown to $3.5 million if he made the team as a backup, and $6.5 million if he ended up starting for most of the season.

Veldheer attended the first day of offseason training activities on Monday and then informed the team of his retirement the next day, CBS Sports reported.

Veldheer made no public statement detailing why he decided to retire, but has reportedly been considering the decision for a few years.

He took a day off to ponder his future after a study on chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, came out in the summer of 2017, The Arizona Republic reported that August.

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The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that 99 percent of the deceased former NFL players studied had CTE.

“It wasn’t really like, ‘Oh my gosh! This is scary.’ I wasn’t going to … It was more complicated than that,” Veldheer told The Republic at the time. “Everyone kind of would like to know more about [CTE] just because that kind of stuff has only been brought up in the last five years or so really and there’s just a lot of stuff they need to do research-wise.”

“So a lot of people are kind of in the dark right now and that part may concern some people, but at the same time there’s new helmet companies out and they’re trying to make it so those big helmet-to-helmet collisions aren’t as prevalent,” Veldheer said.

Ultimately, he decided to play that season, as well as another with the Broncos in 2018.

“You start thinking when you have a lot of time on your plate,” he told The Republic. “You start thinking huge-picture life stuff, you know? You normally don’t necessarily think you’re going to die.”

“So you’re just trying to figure everything out. Stuff just all kind of happened and compounded and I just kind of needed a second to regroup and reflect.”

Veldheer was signed by the Patriots to offer some depth and experience on the offensive line behind left tackle Isaiah Wynn, a first-round draft pick in 2018 who missed all of last season with an Achilles injury.

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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