USA Today reports:
Former Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Eugene Monroe announced his retirement Thursday, citing his concern for his long-term health as the deciding factor in stepping away from football.
Monroe, an outspoken advocate for medical marijuana, was released by the Ravens in June. He said he believed his push to have medical marijuana removed from the list of the NFL’s banned substances was a catalyst for his removal from the team, though Ravens coach John Harbaugh denied that.
In an essay for The Players’ Tribune, Monroe wrote that he was concerned about concussions and the possibility of developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease linked to athletes who have suffered repetitive trauma.
“The last 18 years have been full of traumatic injuries to both my head and my body. I’m not complaining, just stating a fact,” Monroe said. “Has the damage to my brain already been done? Do I have CTE? I hope I don’t, but over 90% of the brains of former NFL players that have been examined showed signs of the disease. I am terrified.”
Monroe suffered a concussion in the Ravens’ season opener in 2015 and missed the next three games. He later underwent season-ending shoulder surgery and played just six total games. The Ravens drafted his replacement at left tackle, Notre Dame’s Ronnie Stanley, with the No. 6 pick in April’s NFL draft.