Skip to main content

Family first: Concussions didn't force John Carlson into retirement

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

John Carlson was knocked unconscious when his head slammed into the frozen ground at Soldier Field in playoff game between the Seattle Seahawks and Chicago Bears in 2011. It was just one of the concussions the Litchfield, Minnesota, native and former Vikings tight end suffered during his NFL career.

But fear of another head injury isn't what made Carlson retire in in May. He simply wanted to be a better husband to his wife and father to his three children.

“I know there are many people in many professions that that’s their reality [too],” Carlson told Star Tribune columnist Chip Scoggins. “But in football, our careers are condensed. I feel very fortunate to be able to play seven years and to have the flexibility to be able to say, it’s time to move on. Time to find something else that I’m passionate about that maybe works a little bit better for our family life.”

Carlson abruptly retired, walking away after an organized team activity with the Arizona Cardinals. He left a million dollars on the table and a bevy of other perks that come with playing professional football.

Carlson finished his career with 210 receptions for 2,256 yards and 15 touchdowns and is one of only 41 two-time Academic All-Americans to graduate from Notre Dame. He played for the Seahawks, Vikings and Cardinals in the NFL.

He's only 31 years old and now has a lot more time to spend with his children, all of whom are under the age of five.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2020-05-26 at 10.28.52 AM

2 years since George Floyd's killing, Biden signs exec order on policing

The signing comes on the second anniversary of Floyd's murder by police in south Minneapolis.

earlyseason

Lutsen Mountains owner to buy Michigan ski resort

The Skinner family has operated alpine ski areas in the Midwest for 60 years.

covid

Mayo Clinic, CDC address concerns over monkeypox in the US

The CDC does not currently think there is a significant threat to the general public.

police tape

Charges: Man killed brother, left body in homemade camper for 7 months

James Robert Hess, 48, faces second-degree murder charges for the death of his 52-year-old brother, William Harold Hess Jr.

storm

Minnesota forecast: Hot, humid and severe storm chances

Bring Me The News meteorologist Sven Sundgaard says right now the best chance for storms looks like Sunday/Sunday night.

Thai Cultural Council of Minnesota

Minnesota's biggest Thai festival to be hosted in front of State Capitol

The Thai New Year, or Songkran, is one of the most celebrated holidays in Thailand.

police tape, crime scene

Man dies after being shot in the head in St. Cloud

Investigators believe the suspects fled the scene in a vehicle.

USATSI_18349907

Uvalde school massacre: MN Democrats call for action, Republicans prayers

The tragedy in Texas has sparked different reactions from Minnesota's congressional delegation.

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 7.11.05 AM

St. Cloud man fires shot at police in hours-long standoff, surrenders

Shawn Lawrence Jacobs, 37, was arrested just before 4 p.m. Tuesday after he surrendered.

New baby zebra at the Como Zoo.

St. Paul's Como Zoo welcomes new baby zebra

The baby is yet to be named, and the zoo is planning an event for visitors to help with the decision.

Screen Shot 2022-05-25 at 11.06.51 AM

Pilfered peony plant prompts police probe

The peony, named Patrick, was taken from Wayzata City Hall gardens.

Related

John Carlson cleared to play

Good news on the injury front for the Vikings on Monday as Leslie Frazier broke the news that tight end John Carlson could be able to play this weekend. The Litchfield Minnesota native has missed the last two games with a concussion.