The Arizona Cardinals placed rookie wide receiver Ryan Swope on the reserve/retired list on Thursday, ending his NFL career before it even started.
The Cardinals' official Twitter account had the unfortunate news:
Swope, courtesy of Rep 1 Sports' Twitter account, made the following statement, announcing his retirement:
Statement from Rep1 client Ryan Swope: “As a result of a concussion I suffered during OTAs, I was advised by doctors that there (cont)— Rep 1 Sports (@Rep1Sports) July 25, 2013
cont "were serious risks in returning to play football at this point. It has been a lifelong dream to play in the NFL but my long-term"— Rep 1 Sports (@Rep1Sports) July 26, 2013
Cont “term health interests outweigh my current goals for football. Because of that, I am electing to retire from the game for now and"— Rep 1 Sports (@Rep1Sports) July 26, 2013
Cont "and then reassess my future after this season. In the meantime, I plan to return to Texas A&M to pursue my degree."— Rep 1 Sports (@Rep1Sports) July 26, 2013
Cont: "I want to thank the Arizona Cardinals organization for the opportunity and their support. I wish the team much success this season"— Rep 1 Sports (@Rep1Sports) July 26, 2013
This is obviously very sad news, as Swope was filled with loads of talent and potential.
In four years at Texas A&M, the 6'0", 205-pound wideout tallied 252 receptions for 3,117 yards and 24 touchdowns, establishing himself as a solid slot option with downfield-threat speed.
Selected in the sixth round by the Cardinals, many believed the often-injured receiver had a great chance to become one of the premier steals of the draft, especially on a team looking for help at the position.
Unfortunately, the "often-injured" part turned out to be his downfall.
According to the Cardinals' official website, Swope had at least two concussions while in college and suffered a setback sometime after arriving with the team.
As such, GM Steve Keim wasn't willing to risk anything:
As it turned out, he had a setback after he got here. Over the course of the subsequent evaluations, we all decided that Ryan’s long-term well-being was the number-one priority and this was the best course to take.
It's a shame to see a player with Swope's natural talent be forced to cut his career short, but it's also encouraging to see the player and NFL organization make the difficult yet correct choice in stepping away from the game.
A player's health should come above everything else, and as we've seen before, head injuries are both long-term and dangerous.
As ESPN's Adam Schefter notes, hopefully this is the beginning of a trend in the NFL:
Jahvid Best and Ryan Swope are part of an evolving NFL culture that rightfully takes brain injuries more seriously.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 25, 2013
The NFL has been trying to make improvements to the game in order to increase player safety, but injuries happen. Players being intelligent enough to call it quits when they are in serious danger is also part of the safety equation.
Credit Swope for doing just that.