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Nick Fairley Told He Should Retire from NFL Due to Heart Issue

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 8, 2017

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 11: Nick Fairley #90 of the New Orleans Saints looks on during the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on December 11, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. Tampa Bay defeated New Orleans 16-11. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton said Thursday that defensive lineman Nick Fairley has received one recommendation to retire from the NFL because of a heart issue. 

Josh Katzenstein of the Times-Picayune provided further details from Payton, who confirmed the defender is waiting on a third opinion before deciding how to proceed.

Nick Underhill of The Advocate previously reported Fairley missed organized team activities because of the ailment, which was originally discovered before the 2011 draft. He's proceeded to play six NFL seasons since the Detroit Lions made him the 13th overall pick that year.

Jennifer Hale of Fox Sports first noted earlier this week the heart trouble "could jeopardize future of his career."

In March, the 29-year-old defensive tackle signed a four-year, $28 million contract with the Saints after a brief foray into free agency. He quickly urged Brian Overstreet, his agent, to hammer out the details with New Orleans because he didn't want to leave, per Katzenstein.

"I told my agent, I was like, 'Man, let's sit down and talk to these Saints and get this deal done because that's where I want to be and move forward from there,'" Fairley said.

Fairley racked up 43 combined tackles and 6.5 sacks during his first season with the franchise. In all, he's registered 170 tackles, 20.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and three passes defended across 77 career games with the Lions, Saints and St. Louis Rams.

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He was expected to remain a key cog along the Saints' defensive line heading into 2017. Tyeler Davison and David Onyemata will need to step up alongside Sheldon Rankins as long as he remains sidelined.

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