San Diego Chargers guard Kris Dielman will officially announce his retirement from the NFL after a nine year career on Thursday because of a series of concussions.
Dielman most notably suffered a concussion in a loss to the New York Jets, returned to the game, then had a seizure on the flight back to San Diego. That will end up being his last career game as he didn’t return the rest of the season.
A four-time Pro Bowl player, Dielman spent his entire career with San Diego.
“I love this game. I’ve given it everything I have,” Dielman said. “It’s time for me to focus on my future and my quality of life.”
Dielman’s concussion may have been what lead the league to put even more focus on concussions.
Just ten days after Dielman was hurt, the league’s injury and safety panel told refs to watch for concussion symptoms in players. If they noticed a player had any symptoms then they were expected to get medical help immediatly.
“Kris played the game the way it’s supposed to be played: with heart and passion,” Chargers President Dean Spanos said after Dielman made his decision. “He’s a throwback . an old-school player. All he cares about is his family and playing football and today he’s making family his top priority, as it should be, and I respect him tremendously for that.
Spanos went on to say that, “He’s universally respected by the players and coaches around the league … he’s respected by his teammates, who voted him lineman of the year three times. And he’s a fan favorite. Kris has had a career to be proud of and we’re all tremendously proud of him.”
Dielman became a starter in the Chargers’ third game of the 2005 season and until the midpoint of the 2011 season, he started 97 of the next 100 games, missing only three due to injury.
In the NFL those types of numbers are absolutely unheard of.
Dielman made the right decision today. I am sure it was tough to say, I’m done, but it was the best thing for him and his family. It takes a strong man to know that.