In a bit of shocking news, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Zachary Orr announced his retirement today. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, Orr is retiring due to neck injuries. The news comes hours after a tweet from Jason LaCanfora of CBSSports.com suggested Orr and the Ravens were negotiating an extension.
Putting his health first
According to Mark Garafolo of NFL.com, Orr played with a cracked bone in his shoulder toward the end of the season. Jeff Zreibec of the Baltimore Sun reported that Orr has a congenital neck condition, which affects less than one percent of the population.
Clifton Brown of CSN Mid-Atlantic reported that the team did not try to talk the linebacker out of retiring. Rather, the team and Orr talked about the DeSoto, Texas native's comfort with his decision, according to a Rapoport tweet.
A talented career cut short
The 24-year-old retires after three seasons at the age of 24, spending all of them with the Ravens. Baltimore signed Orr as an undrafted free agent out of North Texas University. In 46 games in Charm City, Orr started 15 of them. He totaled 110 solo tackles. Orr’s last season in the purple and black was his best. He started 15 games this season, replacing the departed Darryl Smith. Orr settled in with little difficulty, leading the team with 89 solo tackles along with three interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
He also had the highest approximate value (AV) on the team in 2016 (15) according to Pro Football Reference. Orr’s stellar play led to his first All-Pro selection, as he was named to the second team. Orr missed the final game of the season against the Cincinnati Bengals with a neck injury that ultimately led to his retirement even though he looked set to cash in this offseason. He earned the league minimum his first several seasons and would have gotten a significant raise via extension or through restricted free agency.