Former Arizona Cardinals defender is forced into retirement
Former Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Rodney Gunter has been forced to walk away from the NFL because of a heart condition
Back in March, the Arizona Cardinals lost a defensive lineman who had been with the organization for five seasons. Rodney Gunter, a fourth-round draft pick of the club back in 2015, was lured away by a free agent offer from the Jacksonville Jaguars. The three-year, $18 million contract Gunter received was too rich for the Cards, so the front office decided to say goodbye to the veteran defender.
Unfortunately for Gunter, the 6’5, 305 pounder’s stint with the Jaguars has ended before it got started. On Sunday, the Delaware State University product announced that he is walking away from the NFL. Why would Gunter, a 28-year old who’s making millions of dollars, elect to retire while in the prime of his career?
Doctors have discovered that Gunter has a potentially life-threatening heart condition that cannot be fixed with an operation at the present time. The player has an enlarged aorta that could cause a stroke, or possibly even sudden death, if he continued to play. After discussing the situation with his family, Gunter has decided that the risk is too great.
“The last three weeks have been a hard pill to swallow,” Gunter said in an official statement. “Seeing my dreams vanish right in front of me has been extremely difficult.”
Ironically, Jacksonville signed Gunter to replace another former member of the Cardinals. The trade that sent Calais Campbell to the Baltimore Ravens back in March left a hole on the Jaguars defensive line. On Monday, the team inked free agent Timmy Jernigan to help offset the loss of Gunter.
Gunter’s best professional campaign was back in 2018, when he recorded 44 tackles, 4.5 sacks and nine quarterback hits in 16 games (10 starts) for the Cards. Last year, the Florida native tallied 31 tackles, three sacks and 10 quarterback hits in 13 starts for the squad.
In a classy move, the Jaguars offered Gunter a position with the franchise, and will give him time to decide if he wants to accept it or not. “I told him to get back in touch with me and he’ll be part of the staff in one way or another,” explained Jacksonville head coach Doug Marrone. We at Raisingzona.com wish Gunter nothing but the best.