According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on Tuesday, April 20, veteran tight end Jordan Reed has decided to hang up his cleats, announcing his retirement from the NFL after last season’s comeback “allowed him to walk away with no regrets.”
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Reed’s Admirable Comeback With 49ers
Officially an unrestricted free agent as of March, Reed’s choice to wrap up his playing days rather than sign another contract is a conscientious one considering his long history of injuries, which USA Today’s Mike Jones confirmed were a deciding factor.
Reed had begun to suffer from frequent episodes of blurry vision, and it reached the point where he knew he needed to seek medical advice. The vision problems were among the side effects of many concussions Reed had suffered on the football field, doctors told him. After years of pushing through injuries, concussions and other warning signs, Reed concluded his body had reached its limit. So he has decided to retire, hoping to preserve his quality of life.
The 30-year-old originally entered the league in 2013 as a third-round draft pick of the Washington Football Team, who released him in February 2020 as a salary cap casualty after seven seasons. Reed elected to sign a one-year, $1 million deal to join the Niners last August, where he went on to play in 10 games, including a spot start in Week 13 for an injured Kittle.
“I think everyone’s aware of Jordan’s ability. When he’s been healthy, he’s played at an extremely high level and he’s been one of the best third-down tight ends in the league when he’s been healthy,” head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters in August 2020, via 49ers Webzone. “I got to spend a year [in Washington] with him, so I’m familiar with the person and the player.”
After bursting on to the Bay Area scene with a season-high seven catches and two touchdowns in Week 2, Reed’s comeback was nearly cut short again after suffering an MCL sprain and ankle injury the following week that forced him to miss the next five games.
Reed Was Given 99% Chance of Injury in 2021
Dating back to 2010 during his college career with the Florida Gators, Reed has suffered 24 notable injuries, including at least seven documented concussions, according to Sports Injury Predictor, which listed Reed’s chance of injury in 2021 at 99%.
The 6-foot-2, 242-pounder also battled through five left hamstring injuries — which escalated to a Grade 3 tear in 2017 — as well as four right foot ailments and three MCL strains on his right knee throughout his career.
Despite his medical history and inconsistent quarterback play in Washington, Reed established himself as one of the game’s most dynamic pass-catching tight ends in recent history, highlighted by his career-best 2015 season of 87 receptions, 952 yards and 11 touchdowns. Overall, the eight-year veteran compiled 3,602 receiving yards and 28 touchdowns on 355 catches in 75 career games (36 starts).
Reed’s departure leaves San Francisco with minimal depth behind Kittle, with only Ross Dwelley, Charlie Woerner and Daniel Helm currently under contract for next season. Dwelley, the elder statesman of the trio, offers the most experience with 43 games through his first three seasons. The 26-year-old was listed as the team’s starting tight end nine times last year and registered 19 catches for 245 yards and a touchdown while also contributing on special teams.
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