Arizona Cardinals’ starter contemplating life after football

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 13: Tackle Jared Veldheer #68 of the Arizona Cardinals in action during the NFL game against the New Orleans Saints at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 13, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Saints 31-19. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 13: Tackle Jared Veldheer #68 of the Arizona Cardinals in action during the NFL game against the New Orleans Saints at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 13, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Saints 31-19. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Arizona Cardinals’ starter Jared Veldheer took a day off last week to decide if he wanted to continue his football career

It wasn’t believed to be a big deal last week when one of the Arizona Cardinals’ players took a day off from work. After all, everyone needs a day off once in awhile, even those of us who have normal jobs. As it turned out, that “personal ” day that the player took could’ve have had a huge impact on the Cardinals’ 2017 season.

The missing Card that day was starting right tackle Jared Veldheer. The reason for his absence was a good one. It was a day of reflection for Arizona’s 2014 MVP, and an interesting one at that.

Veldheer was concerned over a recent study performed by the Journal of the American Medical Association. The brains of deceased former football players were the focal point of the study, and the results were alarming to say the least.

It was found that out of 111 brains studied, 110 of them had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a degenerative brain disease, believed to be caused by repeated blows to the head. As it turned out, Veldheer wasn’t the only NFL player affected by the startling news.

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Baltimore Ravens’ offensive lineman John Urschel called it quits just a couple of days after the latest study was revealed. The 26-year old is engaged to be married, and the couple are expecting their first child in December. Whether those factors played a part in Urschel’s decision is unknown.

The Cardinals’ organization must have been holding their breath while Veldheer was contemplating his future. He returned to the team the following day, to the relief of many. The current backups at offensive tackle, John Wetzel and Will Holden, don’t come close to offering the stability at the position that Veldheer does.

For now at least, Arizona has their starting right tackle back. Hopefully, Veldheer is in the right state of mind, prepared to be the mauling blocker that had earned him millions of dollars as a professional. But is the money worth the apparent risk that comes with the job?

That’s a question that only Veldheer can answer.