The Vikings’ offensive line has been ravaged by injuries this season. After losing Matt Kalil and Andre Smith early on, the Vikings lost fill-in Jake Long last week, leaving them with the tackle combo of Jeremiah Sirles and T.J. Clemmings. Out-of-house options are limited now that the trade deadline is over and it doesn’t sound like the Vikings will be able to pull two recent retirees off of the couch, either. Eugene Monroe and Phil Loadholt are not interested in playing for the Vikings or any other team this year, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today Sports (Twitter links).
“No, I don’t care if it was the Vikings or whoever, I won’t be playing ball again,” Monroe said.
Monroe made headlines this offseason for his vocal pro-marijuana stance. After making the media rounds for his cause, he was released by the Ravens, but the team insisted that he was not cut for his activism. Teams like the Giants, 49ers, and Seahawks came calling for Monroe, but the 6-foot-5, 310-pounder turned down every overture as he feared for his health.
“I’m only 29 and I still have the physical ability to play at a very high level, so I know that my decision to retire may be puzzling to some. But I am thinking of my family first right now — and my health and my future,” Monroe wrote in July. “The last 18 years have been full of traumatic injuries to both my head and my body. I’m not complaining, just stating a fact. Has the damage to my brain already been done? Do I have CTE? I hope I don’t, but over 90% of the brains of former NFL players that have been examined showed signs of the disease. I am terrified.”
This spring, the Vikings pushed Loadholt to take a pay cut, but he opted to retire instead. There were conflicting reports as to why the veteran walked away with some saying that he didn’t want to accept a salary reduction and others citing an injury while working out. In any case, Loadholt is apparently comfortable in retirement.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.