Twelve most agonizing career-ending NFL injuries | Yardbarker

    the average career in the nfl is brutally short compared to the careers of players in other sports. The main reason for this is pretty obvious, as a pair of 220 pound men sprinting towards each other less than 15 yards apart is going to cause instant and delayed wear and tear on the body.

    some players get lucky and make it through their entire career without getting seriously injured. others may play for seven or eight years in the league before retiring because of the number of hits they have taken. however, sadly, some players’ careers end early, or even instantly, due to injury. here are 12 such examples:

    Reading: Nfl career ending injuries list

    daunte culpepper vs carolina panthers, october 2005

    culpepper was one of those players who seemed to get injured when the world was at his feet. In 2004 he amassed 5,123 offensive yards, a number that at the time was a record for an NFL quarterback. He was a player with a combination of size, running ability, and passing accuracy the likes of which had never been seen in the NFL.

    It was the seventh game of the 2005 season when culpepper’s nfl career essentially ended. He sustained tears to the anterior cruciate ligament, medial medial ligament, and anterior cruciate ligament in one knee, and though he tried comebacks with a variety of teams, he was never the same dynamic playmaker he was before.

    terrell davis vs. new york jets, october 1999

    Davis had an impressive four-year career in the NFL before injuries hit him cruelly and derailed his chance to become one of the greatest running backs of all time. Between 1995 and 1998, Davis rushed for 6,413 yards and 56 touchdowns, including an excellent 1998 season in which he rushed for 2,008 yards and 21 touchdowns.

    Injured on a seemingly innocuous play while trying to make a tackle after an interception in 1999, Davis tore the ACL and ACL in his right knee. He was never the same player after the injury, struggling through three more seasons in which he battled stress fractures in his lower leg and more surgeries to clean out his knee.

    mike utley vs. st. louis carneros, november 1991

    utley had a short nfl career, but his injury was one that shows the dangers that come with being a football player at any level. Utley was a junior for the Detroit Lions and was entrenched in his lineup as the starting right guard on an offensive line that blocked the legendary Barry Sanders.

    in a November game against l.a. Rams, Utley sustained injuries to his sixth and seventh cervical vertebrae. It was an injury that proved difficult to recover from, as Utley has been paralyzed below the waist ever since. Given the location of the spinal damage, it is a testament that he has striven to have full use of his upper extremities, while his foundation has furthered research into a cure for paralysis.

    darryl stingley vs oakland raiders, august 1978

    One of the saddest stories on this list, Stingley was another player cut in his prime by a spinal cord injury. During his five-year career with the New England Patriots, Stingley amassed 110 receptions for 1,883 yards and 14 touchdowns in the mid-to-late 1970s.

    It was in a 1978 preseason game against the Oakland Raiders that Stingley’s infamous career came to an end. Stingley was hit while looking for a pass from Jack Tatum on a play that wouldn’t happen the way the game is played today. The impact of Stingley’s head hitting Tatum’s shoulder pad compressed the receiver’s spine and broke his fourth and fifth vertebrae. Stingley passed away in 2007 due to heart disease complicated by his quadriplegia.

    steve young vs arizona cardinals, september 1999

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    It was sheer wear and tear that caused the young NFL Hall of Famer to hang up his helmet before he was ready. Unfortunately, in the days of youth playing, quarterbacks used to be much less protected by umpires than they are today. A first-generation running quarterback, Young was no stranger to helmet-to-helmet strikes and the concussions that came with those strikes.

    It was a concussion that forced Young to retire in 1999 after suffering another head injury on a sack of Aeneas Williams during a Week 3 match. This was at least the seventh known concussion of Young’s career. (the actual number is probably higher) and walked away from the game for his own future well-being.

    johnny knox vs seattle seahawks, december 2011

    Knox was a product of Abilene Christian who had a three-season career with the Chicago Bears before being forced to retire from the NFL. Knox’s greatest asset as a player was his speed, with his 4.34 40-yard time, which allowed him to break away from defenders on offense and be a productive man on the Bears’ return.

    knox’s career-ending injury was another one that happened on a bizarre play. He was struggling to recover a fumble in a 2011 game against Seattle when he collided head-on with Anthony Hargrove. Knox, who required emergency surgery to stabilize his spine, avoided the worst case scenario associated with such an injury, but is now unable to walk without a limp or stand for prolonged periods.

    wendell davis vs philadelphia eagles, october 1993

    Davis, a solid receiver for the Chicago Bears, caught 207 passes for 3,000 yards and 14 touchdowns during his six-year NFL career. In an injury that sounds especially brutal, the wide receiver’s career ended in an instant when he tore the patellar tendons in both knees on the same play.

    this tragic event occurred during a game against the philadelphia eagles in 1993. davis planted himself to catch a poorly thrown pass and his feet got caught in the unforgiving artificial turf of veterans stadium. the force of being thrown to the ground caused his tendons to rupture, and doctors discovered that his kneecaps had sunk deep into his thighs as a result of the trauma.

    joe theismann vs. the new york giants, november 1985

    Anyone who has seen this particular injury live will have the gruesome image etched in their mind forever. It was one of the first major injuries shown on national television, as Theismann’s career was ended in an instant by a tackle from Lawrence Taylor during a “Monday Night Football” broadcast.

    Attempting a flea flicker in the second quarter of a game against Taylor’s New York Giants, the linebacker wasn’t fooled at all on the play. taylor’s knee penetrated, and essentially pierced through, theismann’s right lower leg, and the quarterback suffered a compound fracture of the tibia and fibula.

    kevin everett vs denver broncos, september 2007

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    in a play that pushed the nfl to consider the injury risks associated with special teams play, everett was injured in week 1 of the 2007 nfl season. The Buffalo Bills junior ran down the field in kickoff coverage, only to sustain a catastrophic injury as he attempted to tackle Denver Broncos comeback man Domenik Hixon.

    everett suffered both a fracture and dislocation of his spine on the job and had to undergo surgery to place a plate and screws in his spine to relieve pressure on his spinal cord. Everett was unable to move anything but her eyelids in the field after the incident, but she overcame her fatal injuries to walk in December of that year.

    reggie brown vs. the new york jets, december 1997

    Brown was selected by the Detroit Lions in the first round of the 1996 NFL draft and was expected to be a key player in the organization until at least the turn of the century. He was nearing the end of his second season in the league when Brown suffered a career-ending injury, a season in which he had shown such promise with 2.5 sacks and a pair of interception returns for touchdowns.

    A tackle tackle on a play against the New York Jets would prove to be the final action of Brown’s NFL career. A spinal cord contusion caused Brown to collapse immobile on the field, and CPR was administered to save his life. Brown’s recovery from football has been solid, due to emergency surgery that kept him out of a wheelchair and on his feet.

    gale sayers vs san francisco 49ers, november 1968

    The Kansas Comet’s injury story is frustrating because if his problems had occurred 20 or 30 years later, Sayers likely would have been able to return to the gridiron. Limited to just five playing seasons before injuries struck, Sayers was a running back of almost unparalleled skill who scored a record six touchdowns in a game during his rookie season.

    In 1968 he tore his anterior cruciate ligament, medial medial ligament and suffered meniscus damage in his right knee. medical techniques at the time had no real way to repair the injury, essentially ending sayers’ careers because the injury occurred early.

    bo jackson vs cincinnati bengals, january 1991

    Perhaps the most famous NFL career-ending injury of all time belongs to Jackson. The multi-sport athlete excelled as a football and baseball player, tearing up the gridiron during his college days at Auburn, before turning professional in both sports.

    Jackson’s athletic career was cut short by an injury sustained in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals in 1991. In what appeared to be a routine tackle at the end of a 34-yard run, Jackson dislocated his hip. the injury worsened. from a fracture of the hip bone and the bone tissue in the joint dying due to lack of blood supply. Jackson never played another football down.

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