Eugene Monroe, released by the Baltimore Ravens in June, announced his retirement from the NFL, citing health fears. Here he poses with his family on vacation July 14. Photo via @MrEugeneMonroe/Twitter
Eugene Monroe retired from the NFL on Thursday but the outspoken advocate for player health and other issues doesn't plan to go quietly.
Monroe, 29, played seven seasons in the league, first with the Jacksonville Jaguars and since October 2013 with the Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens re-signed Monroe to a deal worth $37.5 million prior to the 2014 season but he was dogged by injuries in 2015, a running theme in Baltimore last season, when Monroe suited up for just six games.
"The last 18 years have been full of traumatic injuries to both my head and my body," he wrote Thursday for the Players' Tribune. "I'm not complaining, just stating a fact. Has the damage to my brain already been done? Do I have CTE? I hope I don't, but over 90 percent of the brains of former NFL players that have been examined showed signs of the disease. I am terrified."
Released by the Ravens in June, Monroe was an outspoken advocate for medical marijuana, which some outside the game believe could be a viable treatment for injuries caused by regular violent collisions in football. Monroe said he wondered if the nature of those statements in support of self-treatment and removing marijuana from the NFL's banned substance list got him crossed off the Ravens' roster.
Thursday he said his first move is to get himself in order medically. However, he reiterated that his push for allowance of "medical cannabis as a viable option for pain management" would not be quieted by his retirement.
"One of the first things I'm planning to do is to go to the doctor," he added. "I need to take stock of my current health, and I don't want to miss a thing. I'm going to get brain and body imaging scans, mental health assessments - anything that might help me get a handle on the state of my body and my mind. My health is critical to the future of my family."
Monroe was a first-round pick of the Jaguars in 2009 and started 62 of 65 games in Jacksonville. He missed three games due to injury.
He was traded to Baltimore on Oct. 3, 2013, for fourth- and fifth-round picks in the 2014 draft.