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Why 23-year-old rookie Adrian Coxson is retiring from the NFL

Adrian Coxson

Photo courtesy of the National Football League

One would think at 23, anyone who’s dreamed of playing pro football their entire life and finally made it on to an NFL roster would be looking forward to a long career on the gridiron, but not Adrian Coxson.

At the ripe old age of 23, Coxson is actually retiring from professional football without having played a single game.

The former Green Bay Packers wide receiver suffered a serious concussion on his third day of training camp and is now leaving the game behind on the advice of numerous doctors.

“I’m retiring because I’m still having symptoms and my health is more important to me than the game of football,” Coxson told the National Football Post. “It’s been recommended to me by two neurologists and two doctors to retire from football. The next hit to my head could possibly kill me or be life-damaging. This last one could be life-damaging. It has taken a great toll on me. This concussion was a bad one. A Grade 3 concussion is real serious.

“It’s definitely tough. I worked hard all my life and I felt I was achieving my lifelong goal. Unfortunately, I got hit in the head in practice and it was really bad for me. I couldn’t describe how bad it is. I’m blessed to have my life right now. I’ll see how things work out as far as my health, but my health isn’t in tip-top shape right now because of the concussion.”

Though an undrafted free agent, Coxson signed a three-year deal with the Packers earlier this year after attending FCS Stony Brook (New York) University, where he graduated with two degrees: one in business and one in African-American studies. Coxson says he plans to concentrate on getting better and looks forward to being the best father possible to his young son, Adrian Jr.

“I take pride in that, I take pride in being able to function right now from this injury,” Coxson said. “I’m concerned about my health and I’m concerned about how healthy I am and I want to get to as close to 100 percent as I can get. I’m concerned about the outcome of this whole injury. It was a bad one.”

Coxson’s announcement comes on the heels of the hoopla made of the NFL’s reaction to the upcoming Will Smith-led movie, Concussion, which takes a stark look at the battle waged by forensic neuropathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu against the league to get it to recognize the effects of CTE, a football-related brain trauma.