Packers LB Jeremy Thompson: An Unfortunate End to a Once-Promising Career

Adam BayerContributor IIApril 26, 2010

This story hits on higher levels than the National Football League could ever become.

Life is more precious than anything in existence. That's the dilemma that 24-year-old Jeremy Thompson was recently faced with.

The Packers' recently released the once-promising linebacker prospect out of Wake Forest. The release comes on the heels of medical problems that essentially ended his professional career.

That left him with two decisions he had to weigh: Retire from football or possibly lose his life. There was no choice for Thompson.

Last December, Thompson collided with practice squad running back Kregg Lumpkin and was knocked to the ground. He suffered only a neck sprain, but it was a repeat injury that was essentially the writing on the wall for his career.

Said Lumpkin of the incident: "I didn't even lower my head; he just kind of hit my left shoulder and then collapsed." ~ courtesy JSonline.com

At the time, Thompson was moving his feet, but the medical staff cleared everyone away from him. He was placed on IR on Dec. 30.

Thompson, who was taken in the fourth round of the 2008 draft, was probably in line to take reps at the outside linebacker position starting this year had he not gotten hurt. This type of injury is the most scary for professional football players, and Thompson made the 100 percent best decision he could have made—retire.

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Thompson issued a statement following his release:

"I have consulted with a number of physicians, and due to my medical condition my intention is to retire from football. I am thankful to the Packers organization and to the fans for their support during my time in Green Bay. The Packers are a first-class organization and I want to thank them for the opportunity to play in the NFL. There truly is no team I would have rather played for. But ultimately, I want to be able to hold my wife and play with my kids."

Thompson is a class-act guy, and it's very unfortunate that his young, promising career had to take such a horrible turn. It will be different without seeing "Thompson" across the back of the No. 99 jersey this season.

I wish Jeremy the best of luck with the rest of the recovery process and hope he has a wonderful life outside the NFL.