Former Wayzata standout walks away from NFL to preserve future health


A former Wayzata high school standout and promising young Buffalo Bills linebacker has announced his retirement from the NFL after just one season to preserve his health.

A.J. Tarpley,23, who is a former Star Tribune's Metro Player of the Year winner as a linebacker from Wayzata made the announcement on his Instagram account Thursday evening.

The announcement was made after the hard-hitting linebacker suffered two concussions during his rookie season with the Bills – the third and fourth of his football career.


"This decision is the hardest I've made yet but after much research and contemplation I believe it's what is best for me going forward," Tarpley wrote on Instagram.

Tarpley played in 14 games and started two for Buffalo as an undrafted rookie. He recorded eight tackles, a sack and intercepted passes in back-to-back games to close the season.

Pro Football Talk notes that his story is similar to that of former 49ers rookie linebacker Chris Borland, who retired after his rookie season in 2014.

At that time, Borland said he thinks early retirements will become the new norm in the NFL.

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