In a sad development for a Baltimore Ravens linebacker with a bright career ahead of him, Zachary Orr is retiring early at the age of 24 today.
The NFL Network first reported the news or Orr’s decision, while the Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec broke the news this morning that he is calling it quits due to a congenital neck issue. Orr suffered an injury during the Ravens’ second-to-last game of the season against the Steelers and sat out the final game against the Bengals. He had told the Sun during locker cleanout that he was “feeling pretty good” and was planning to meet with doctors. However, subsequent tests revealed an injury severe enough to cut his career short.
The NFL Network reported he also suffered a cracked bone in his shoulder late in the season.
Orr made the news official at a press conference at the Ravens’ practice facility in Owings Mills today. “I’m blessed and thankful that I’m able to walk away from the game in good health,” he said.
Coach John Harbaugh offered praise for his retiring player.
Harbaugh on @ZO35 "I'm very proud he's been a Raven. And I'm very proud to call him a friend."
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 20, 2017
Two years after joining the Ravens as an undrafted free agent out of the University of North Texas in 2014, the linebacker became one of the Ravens’ brightest sports on defense. He started in all 15 games he played this past season, recording a team-high 132 tackles, three interceptions (one behind leaders C.J. Mosley and Eric Weddle) and one forced fumble in the process. His play didn’t go unrecognized: he was named to the NFL’s second All-Pro team for 2016.
At age 24, Orr has a bright future ahead of him. Unfortunately, for health purposes, it won’t be take place on the gridiron.
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