SAN DIEGO (AP) - San Diego Chargers guard Kris Dielman will announce his retirement Thursday because of a series of concussions.
A nine-year NFL veteran, Dielman suffered a concussion in a loss to the New York Jets, returned to the game, then had a seizure on the flight back to San Diego. He didn't play again in 2011.
"I love this game. I've given it everything I have," Dielman said. "It's time for me to focus on my future and my quality of life."
The father of two young boys indicated at the end of the season he would consider continuing playing, but changed his mind.
Ten days after Dielman was hurt, the league'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.
"Kris played the game the way it's supposed to be played: with heart and passion," Chargers President Dean Spanos said. "He's a throwback . an old-school player. All he cares about is his family and playing football and today he's making family his top priority, as it should be, and I respect him tremendously for that.
"He's universally respected by the players and coaches around the league ... he's respected by his teammates, who voted him lineman of the year three times. And he's a fan favorite.
"Kris has had a career to be proud of and we're all tremendously proud of him."
A defensive lineman, Dielman he signed with the Chargers in 2003 as an undrafted rookie out of Indiana. He switched to offense - Dielman played some tight end for the Hoosiers - and spent his first two years as a backup left guard. He became a starter in the Chargers' third game of the 2005 season and until the midpoint of the 2011 season, he started 97 of the next 100 games, missing only three due to injury.