Former Penn State OL John Urschel announced his retirement from football in July at age 26 after just three seasons in the NFL. His announcement came just days after the release of a study that found CTE in the brains of 99 percent of former players who donated their brains to the study.
A report at the time “linked” Urschel’s decision to that study when, but Urschel has a different explanation for his sudden retirement.
“This wasn’t really a retirement out of fear,” he told The Daily Collegian, Penn State’s student newspaper.
Urschel told The Collegian he thought the media might be overstating some parts of the study.
“There are not things perhaps wrong with the study, but perhaps with how the media is showing the study,” Urschel said. “There’s some headlines that come out about this 99 percent number. These things can look pretty scary to the untrained eye.”
Urschel has zeroed in not only on his next career, but on a potential employer.
“I do not possibly want to be a math professor, I certainly want to be a math professor,” Urschel continued. “I definitely could be back at Penn State [teaching]. It’s a place that I love. It feels like home.”
Urschel was a unique case in the NFL. He was studying for his Ph.D. at MIT during his time with the Ravens, and eventually felt he had to decide between the two.
Here’s what he told the Freakonomics Podcast earlier this month (transcription by The Sporting News’ Jordan Heck)
URSCHEL: My schedule — to put the MIT things in perspective — what I would do is, I would play the game on Sunday. Then from Sunday — suppose it’s a home game, one o’clock kickoff. I get home around 5:00, perhaps 5:30. From Sunday, 5:30 p.m. until Tuesday, say, 11:00 a.m. — when I have to go into the Ravens — all I am doing is MIT coursework and math. That is all I am doing. MIT accepted me as a Ph.D. student, but they don’t have part-time Ph.D. students. If I have to finish in four years, maybe five, this is just completely infeasible if I’m only working on the Ph.D. half a year.