According to The Associated Press, via ESPN.com, Scheffler was concussed three times in the last four years, so he decided against pursuing any potential free-agent deals.
Following four seasons with the Denver Broncos, Scheffler played an additional four seasons for the Detroit Lions. He split time with Brandon Pettigrew and became an important part of Detroit's offense as quarterback Matthew Stafford often looked in his direction down the field.
Scheffler missed 11 games due to injury this past season, which contributed to the Lions' decision to release him in October, per ESPN's Andrew Brandt:
Tony Scheffler released by @DetroitLionsNFL. As vested veteran, entitled to balance of $1.95 million salary.— Andrew Brandt (@adbrandt) October 22, 2013
Although Scheffler is stepping away from the NFL, he intends to remain busy in retirement, according to Larry Lage of the AP:
It is possible that the Lions may have considered keeping Scheffler in the fold if not for the injury concerns, as he was replaced by a similarly skilled player in 2014 first-round pick Eric Ebron out of North Carolina.
Are you surprised that Scheffler decided to retire?
Scheffler topped 500 yards in a season on three occasions during his career and racked up 22 total touchdowns as well. There is little doubt that other teams would have had some interest in Scheffler as a stretch-the-field tight end, but he deserves a lot of credit for stepping away at this juncture and putting his health first.
Scheffler is still quite young at 31 years of age and he has a long life ahead of him. Rather than risking a debilitating and life-changing injury, Scheffler is getting out of the sport while he is still relatively healthy.
Perhaps if Scheffler's foray into coaching goes well, he could eventually make a living in that capacity at the collegiate or professional ranks. It has to be disappointing to a competitor like Scheffler to know that retiring is his best option, but there will be many more opportunities for him to make an impact on the sport in other ways moving forward.
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