Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick on Monday stunningly announced his retirement.
Frederick, who turned 29 on Wednesday last week, was a Pro Bowl selection in five of his six NFL seasons.
Frederick revealed his retirement in a lengthy letter, beginning it by writing: “After much consideration, discussion, and reflection, I have decided to retire from football. This was not an easy decision.”
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Frederick cited his bout with autoimmune disease Guillain-Barre syndrome as a factor.
He missed the 2018 season due to the illness in which the body’s immune system attacks the nervous system, but he returned to be a standout again last season.
“I started a journey almost two years ago that completely blindsided me,” Frederick wrote. “When I developed Guillian-Barre Syndrome, I did not know how to handle things. I was scared. That experience forced me to reevaluate my life priorities. I spent much of that year thinking about both the past and future. I realized how fortunate I was to play a game for a living. I realized how fortunate I was to make friends and become teammates with some great men.”
“Most of all, I realized the importance of my family and how much I want to be there for their peaks and valleys as they were for me,” he wrote. “Football is risky. Each day, players go to work knowing this could be their last day playing. Facing the potential end of my career because of my illness forced me to imagine life after football.”
Frederick does not know what he will do, but said that he and his wife Kaylee “will continue to make a positive impact on the Dallas community.”
Frederick started all 96 games he played for the Cowboys while being considered one of the top centers of the past decade.
He was a first-round pick (No. 31 overall) in 2013 out of Wisconsin.
Frederick first made the Pro Bowl in 2014 and was selected four seasons in a row before sitting out in 2018.
He again was tabbed after this past season, even though he felt his play had slipped a notch.
The Cowboys allowed the second-fewest sacks (23) with Frederick back after allowing the second-most sacks (56) when he sat out in 2018.
“I made my return to the field, played well overall, and was selected to the Pro Bowl, but it was a difficult year for me,” he wrote. “Each day I faced a struggle: I could no longer perform at my highest level. Playing ‘well’ is not what I expect of myself and is not what my teammates deserve. Because of this, I know my days as a football player are done.”
“I am proud of what I have accomplished in my career, and I walk away with my head held high,” he added.
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