When Ali Marpet retired, it shocked Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans, and there had always been a lingering question as to why the 28-year-old 2021 Pro Bowl Guard decided to call it quits. The reason for his decision is health.
“The biggest reason for me was the physical toll: I didn’t want any more of that. There were some things I wanted to accomplish in my career that I had done,” Marpet tells the Guardian. “I loved playing football. But one of my strongest values is health, and if I’m really going to live out what’s important to me, it doesn’t make sense to keep playing. There are also the unknowns of the head trauma of the NFL and how that plays out. Plus, your joints, the aches and pains that come with surgeries and all that stuff.”
The 2021 Pro Bowler had faced his fair share of injuries during his time in the NFL and for him, the repeated subconcussive blows to the head, which are known to be linked to brain trauma, are the most significant reasons for him to retire. He missed three games in November of 2020 due to a concussion; however, he said that he suffered mild symptoms afterward.
Marpet stated that at 300lbs, he was eating as clean as he could but ended up with sleep apnea and hypertension. He said having to carry all of that weight is bad for the body.
“I was eating as clean as possible for a 300-pounder, but having all the weight on your body is bad.”
Ali Marpet made $37 million during his career and was due to make another $20 million over the next two seasons; however, he will not return to the NFL. Instead, he will begin the next chapter of his life. Now, he will look to take focus on the mental health field and work with people one-on-one. What that will be, he is not yet sure, but he is eager to find out what his role will be and build a new set of skills.
“I’m not entirely sure yet what my actual role will be, but I want to work with people in a one-on-one setting. I’m very eager and excited to build my skills and figure out where they can best align.”