BALTIMORE, MD – NOVEMBER 1: Guard John Urschel #64 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on prior to a game against the San Diego Chargers at M&T Bank Stadium on November 1, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)

Over the past few years, we have witnessed an increasing number of retirements from football form players just a few years into their respective professional football careers. The latest player to follow that trend is offensive lineman John Urschel, who is reportedly stepping away form the football field at just 26 years of age.

Adam Schefter reported the news via Twitter, and noted the trend that has been growing in the NFL. The Ravens later confirmed the news as well.

Earlier this year, HBO’s Real Sports took a look at Urschel and put his love for mathematics on full display. Urshcel has always been known almost more for his actual IQ than his football IQ, but he has always managed to find ways to combine the two whenever possible. But it is important to keep in mind jut how much Urschel values his brain. Perhaps that Real Sports segment was a bit of foreshadowing about Urschel’s master plan.

“It’s more important to me that I’m able to do the two things I love,” he continued. “I don’t know if people have really done things like I’ve done before, I don’t know if they’ll do them after me, but I enjoy carving out my own path and not listening to what people say I can and can’t do.”

Urschel claimed to suffer a concussion during the 2015 season, and that forced him to think long and hard about his football future. He is hardly alone in having to think things over at an earlier age than generations of players before him have contemplated. But we also have more and more research being done yielding more and more evidence about the long-term impact laying football can have on athletes, most notably those who play football.

Urshcel’s retirement news comes just days after a study revealed 110 of 111 brains from deceased former NFL players showed signs of CTE. Maybe it’s a coincidence, and maybe it’s not. Only Urschel knows for sure at this time, but retirement is not a decision that is made lightly.

So, what is Urschel focused on next? As you might suspect, math will be involved.

About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Previously contributed to Host of the Locked On Nittany Lions Podcast. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.