SAN DIEGO -- As tough and nasty as any player in the NFL, whether it was putting Albert Haynesworth on his back or getting in the last shot in a tangle of large bodies, Kris Dielman found it hard to end his NFL career.
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"I had nine great years," said Dielman, who recalled that no one believed he'd make it past his first training camp after signing as an undrafted rookie in 2003. "It just sucks that it has to end this way, but it is."
Dielman said it was his decision to retire 4½ months after sustaining a concussion in a helmet-to-helmet collision with a New York Jets defender.
"I've got to get out when the getting out's good still," he said. "It wasn't worth what would happen if I would have kept on playing. I've got a beautiful family I want to be around. I live in a great place, so I want to enjoy it. It's been a great nine years. I had a lot of fun; a lot of memories."
Dielman suffered a grand mal seizure on the flight home. The team plane was met by an ambulance, and Dielman was hospitalized overnight.
Ten days after Dielman was hurt, the NFL's injury and safety panel told game officials to watch closely for concussion symptoms in players. Officials were told that if they believed a player had sustained a concussion, they were to take appropriate steps to alert the team and get medical attention for the player.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press