Walter Thurmond becomes the latest NFL player to retire early

Walter Thurmond decided to retire at age 28 (AP)Safety Walter Thurmond had a big 2015 season and could have cashed in with a huge payday in free agency. Instead, he’s walking away.

According to multiple reports on Tuesday, including ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Thurmond is retiring. He’s 28 years old, with six seasons of NFL experience with the Seattle Seahawks, New York Giants and one last season with the Philadelphia Eagles.

It’s easy to guess that concerns about concussions played a role. On Thurmond’s Twitter account at the time of his retirement, three of his last four posts were about concussions a comment on a story that BMX rider Dave Mirra had the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a retweet of a story that former NFL legend Bubba Smith had CTE, and a GIF showing how the brain reacts when the human skull is hit. 

Thurmond had reinvented himself as an NFL player last season. He moved from cornerback to safety, where he thrived with the Eagles. He reportedly had offers of more than $4 million a year, which is no surprise. He had a career-high 73 tackles and also three interceptions, after having just one interception his first five seasons. He also set career highs in sacks (two) and forced fumbles (two). He took to safety very well and could have had a lucrative and successful second half of his career at that position. 

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It’s not fair to say early retirements are an epidemic for the NFL because among hundreds of NFL players only a handful have walked away due to health concerns, but it is a new and worrisome issue for the league. Last year there were a few retirements by players in their prime, most notably San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland after just one season. Borland said a big part of his decision was the concern over concussions.

It’s hard for many of us to imagine walking away from the NFL when teams are preparing to offer more than $4 million a year to play. But Thurmond has other interests. The Eagles’ site said he’s an “avid film and art enthusiast.” He tweets often about films. He has also tweeted about NFL player safety a lot this offseason.

Thurmond decided, for whatever reason, that the NFL life was no longer for him, no matter how much money he was leaving on the table.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

 

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Police: Ex-Tech OL gave jersey numbers of others involved in robbery

A former Texas Tech offensive lineman allegedly told police who was involved in a robbery with him. But instead of giving names, he gave them his accomplices jersey numbers.

Robert Castaneda was arrested Friday on a felony burglary charge after he turned himself in. Items allegedly taken in the burglary, which happened over Christmas break, included multiple guns. From EverythingLubbock.com: 

Police confronted Castaneda on May 3 at home.  He admitted what happened, and provided more of the stolen guns.  He refused to name who else was with him in the burglary, but said they were also football players.  He eventually gave up their jersey numbers.

Two days later Texas Tech announced that Castaneda, Trace Ellison and Dakota Allen were all removed from the football team for failure to uphold student athlete standards.

Ellison also reportedly had a firearm in his Tech dorm room according ot the warrant. Neither he nor Allen have been arrested, per the report. Castaneda was released on a $5,000 bond.

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Castaneda was to be a redshirt sophomore in 2016 and was a three-star recruit in the class of 2014. Ellison, another offensive lineman, was a redshirt freshman and a three-star recruit. Allen, a linebacker, was a three-star member of the class of 2014 according to Rivals. 

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Nick Bromberg
is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Washington’s Isaiah Renfro opens up about depression, leaves team

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)Washington wide receiver Isaiah Renfro is leaving the program.

In a lengthy Twitter post, Renfro revealed Sunday he has been struggling with depression and anxiety, both of which caused his absence from spring practice.

“I missed spring practice because I was checked in the hospital. I was in a special program for people like me that taught me how to cope with my problems and what to do when I hit my lowest of lows,” Renfro wrote. “I didn’t know how bad I got until it was almost too late. But coming out of the hospital, I have a better outlook on life, I’m more and more happy each day I wake up, because I’m able to wake up.”

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In his message, Renfro thanked UW’s coaches, his teammates and Huskie fans for their support.


Renfro is not just leaving the program, he is leaving the university as well. But he made it clear that he is hopeful about what lies ahead.

“This isn’t the end of me, just the end of a certain chapter. I will conquer this, and not let this situation conquer me,” Renfro wrote. “I’m on a journey to find my happiness again.”

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Renfro appeared in all 13 games in his lone season at UW last fall, finishing with 13 catches for 178 yards. 

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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The Bills have lost all contact with tackle Seantrel Henderson

The Bills haven't heard from offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson this offseason (AP)Players retire or fade away from the NFL, sometimes in their athletic prime, but rarely do they disappear.

The Buffalo Bills don’t know where offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson is, the Buffalo News reported. Weeks after offseason training started, the Bills have yet to get in contact with the 24-year-old tackle, who has started 26 games the past two seasons. Henderson was once one of the top recruits in the 2010 high school class, played at Miami and eventually tumbled to the seventh round of the 2014 draft after multiple failed drug tests. He seemed to have his NFL career on track however, but then he went MIA.

The Buffalo News said coach Rex Ryan hasn’t talked to Henderson since last season and teammates haven’t heard much from him either. Ty Dunne of the Buffalo News wrote that some Bills players “aren’t sure when or if he’ll be back.” Henderson’s battle with Crohn’s disease is cited by Dunne as a likely reason he hasn’t been heard from. 

“I can’t really recall talking to him,” Ryan said. “I think he has been in since then but I haven’t talked to him personally.”

The Buffalo News reported that Henderson might have had surgery for Crohn’s disease this offseason. Crohn’s disease caused Henderson to miss the final five games last season.

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If the absence is related to Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract, it doesn’t completely explain the radio silence. Plenty of players deal with medical conditions, but very few quit returning calls from their head coach and teammates. Henderson has basically abandoned his NFL job, it seems. 

There are plenty of stories of players quitting, but Henderson’s tale is an unusual one.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Young fan gives Max Scherzer adorable advice on hitting homers

Max Scherzer has 33 career hits, but no home runs yet. (Getty Images)Washington Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer has not only developed into one of MLB’s most dominant pitchers, he’s also a pretty decent hitter.

That seems to be the trend these days among the National League’s top hurlers. It’s well documented that pitchers like Madison Bumgarner, Jake Arrieta and Clayton Kershaw are all capable of supporting themselves with important hits, and even the occasional home run.

[Elsewhere: Bryce Harper cuts up batting gloves after mammoth home run]

The latter though is one thing that’s missing from Scherzer’s statsheet. In 198 career plate appearances, he has 33 hits, but none of those have left the ballpark. He has a knack for making contact — he’s only struck out 53 times — and he’s laid down 19 sacrifice bunts, but he’s yet to square up a baseball Bartolo Colon style to get that first career homer under his belt. 

One young Nationals fan would like to see that change though, and in an effort to motivate and educate, he sent Scherzer this book that illustrates the best ways to hit a home run. 


Here’s a closer look at the fan’s helpful suggestions.

(Max Scherzer on Twitter)

The young fan obviously drew this before Bryce Harper’s mammoth third-deck home run on Thursday. Otherwise, he’d undoubtedly note that batting gloves are merely a hindrance when attempting to go yard.

Still, this is one of the cutest things we’ve seen all weekend.

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Now, the young fan just needs to come up with some advice on not allowing home runs. If Scherzer could stop doing that, he may just become the very best pitcher in baseball. 


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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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