As former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Zach Orr visits teams in an attempt to restart the career that was brought to an abrupt end less than six months ago, questions remain about what changed in his life to spark his comeback.
What we know is that Orr was diagnosed with a congenital spine deformity and retired in late January at age 24 after leading the Ravens in tackles in 2016. It was a shocking retirement at the time, but one that made sense considering how Orr’s health.
At the time, Orr said he had received the advice of multiple doctors and was informed that he risked a serious and potentially life-altering or fatal injury if he continued to play.
Now, he’s changing his story a little.
“It was probably a premature decision for me to retire so early just because I listened to one doctor,” Orr told hosts Alex Marvez and Mark Dominik this week on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “After people found out I only went to one doctor, they were telling me, ‘You’ve got to go get a second opinion. It was kind of eating at me. Obviously, I wanted to play ball. I love ball. I went ahead and did that.
“Every opinion after that I found out that I’m not as at great a risk. Really, there was only one doctor that looked me in the eye and told me I was at greater risk. The rest of the doctors told me I wasn’t.”
Orr’s unique path away from football and then back to it could drastically alter the fortunes of two franchises. The Ravens had no reason to believe Orr would attempt a comeback, so they didn’t tender an offer to Orr as a restricted free agent. That means he’s now an unrestricted free agent, and every team has the chance to sign a 25-year-old player on the rise.
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