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Jaguars DL Rodney Gunter announces retirement because of heart condition

Jaguars defensive lineman Rodney Gunter is retiring from football.

The 28-year-old veteran made the announcement Sunday after revealing he has a serious heart condition.

"These last three weeks have been a hard pill to swallow," he posted on Twitter. "Seeing my dreams vanish right in front of me has been extremely difficult. After seeing several heart specialists I was told if I continue to play ball with my condition, I could possibly rupture or tear my aorta which is enlarged. This can cause sudden death or a severe stroke.

"There is a 50/50 chance that surgery will fix my current health condition. But at the moment, I do not meet the criteria to undergo the operation. Those who qualify must have 5.5+ cm enlarged aorta, while mine measures 5.0 cm. At this time, I cannot play or have the surgery so I must wait. So at this moment, the best choice for me and my family is to walk away from this game.

"I appreciate the Jaguars for giving me an opportunity, and I'm thankful for everyone who has believed in me along the way. Thank you!"

Gunter, slated to be a reserve for Jacksonville, was placed on the active/non-football illness list to begin training camp.

The defensive tackle/end signed a three-year deal with the Jags in March after playing five seasons for the Cardinals, where started a career-high 13 games in 2019. Gunter tallied 126 tackles, 26 tackles for loss and 11 sacks in Arizona, which selected him in the fourth round of the 2015 draft out of Delaware State.

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