Jacob Bell took the Cincinnati Bengals by surprise when he decided to retire only one month after joining the team. Now we know the reasons for his decision.
The 31-year-old guard told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Tuesday night that long-term health concerns, exacerbated by the recent suicide of former NFL linebacker Junior Seau, drove his thought process.
"I've been thinking about some different things, thinking about health, thinking about the future of my family having to deal with some kind of crazy disease that nobody even knows about, where people want their brains studied after they're dead. Donating their brains to research," Bell said.
"It's just crazy to see how someone like Junior Seau took his own life over -- God knows what he was really struggling and dealing with. But you have to believe it came from the game of football. I want to get out before the game makes me get out, where I can get out on my own terms, and I can limit the amount of stress and negative impact that the game would leave on me."
"I played under a guy, Mike Munchak in Tennessee, and I used to watch him as he was running around the practice field for a half hour before practice, and I'd see the way he'd run," Bell said. "He played 13 seasons, he played all 13 seasons with no cartilage in his knees. And I thought to myself, I don't want to look like that. I don't want to be at the point where I'm jeopardizing my true health for money pretty much. For money and for celebrity."
Bell said he doesn't know how many concussions he's had in his career.
"Is a concussion, 'Oh, I saw stars'?" Bell said. "Is a concussion, 'Oh, I got a little wobbly for a second -- I'm OK now'? ... If you're telling me 'I'm seeing stars' is some sort of concussion, then you're getting a couple a week."