One of the best Minnesota-born athletes of the past 15 years is retiring from the NFL.
Former Vikings tight end John Carlson, a native of Litchfield, Minnesota, announced his retirement via the Arizona Cardinals' website on Tuesday.
"After much thought and consideration, my wife Danielle and I know that this is best decision for us," Carlson said in a statement. "I was blessed to play seven seasons in the NFL for three tremendous organizations - the Cardinals, Vikings and Seahawks. I will always treasure the experiences and relationships made during that time but I'm also very excited about the next phase of my life and what's ahead."
After graduating from Notre Dame, Carlson played four seasons with the Seahawks and two with the Vikings (2012-2013) before signing with the Cardinals.
Carlson was an outstanding athlete at Litchfield High School, where he starred in football, basketball and tennis. According to his Notre Dame bio, he helped Litchfield win three Class 2A state titles in basketball while compiling a record of 114-8 during his four-year run as a starter. As a No. 1 doubles tennis player, Carlson's pairing racked up 106 wins and only 22 losses. He was a two-time all-state tight end in football.
He was talented enough on the hardwood to make Notre Dame's basketball team as a walk-on freshman. He played just one season and scored only two points, but they were memorable; he sunk a pair of free throws at Madison Square Garden against St. John's, according to his Vikings bio.
Carlson, 30, has a history of concussions but he did not specify head injuries as a reason for his retirement, which caught Cardinals' writer Darren Urban by surprise.
Per the Star Tribune, Carlson spent the final few weeks of the 2014 season on injured reserve with a concussion. He contemplated retirement 2013 season before doctors informed him he was healthy enough to keep playing. 1500 ESPN puts Carlson's concussion number at at least five.
Carlson finishes 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.