Mike Wright, Rich Ohrnberger Released by Patriots, Wright’s Future in Doubt Due to Concussion History

Mike Wright, Rich Ohrnberger Released by Patriots, Wright's Future in Doubt Due to Concussion HistoryThe Patriots released defensive lineman Mike Wright on Wednesday, putting his future in football in further doubt.

Wright's last two seasons ended due to serious concussions, and he said in October he would assess a retirement decision after the 2011 season. It was not clear Wednesday if his release was the result of such a decision.

"Right now, I'm just trying to get better," Wright said in October when asked if he'd consider retirement. "I think I'll make that decision with the doctors and the coaches after the season. Right now, my focus is just getting everything better and going back to normal."

Wright, who was undrafted in 2005, suffered his season-ending concussion against the Colts in Week 11 of the 2010 season, and it took him three and a half months for the symptoms to subside. Then, he suffered another concussion in the 2011 season opener against the Dolphins, and his condition didn't improve, which led to the decision to place him on injured reserve in October.

He said it was a very frustrating decision, but he knew it was the right one to make after consulting with his medical team. Wright wants to help raise concussion awareness for younger generations of football players who don't take the issue as seriously.

"Pushing through getting hit on the field and being dizzy is not normal," Wright said in October. "Your brain is extremely important. You have no idea what your brain has to process to even stand up out of a chair. I think it's great what the NFL is doing now to educate everyone, but I think kids and high school players can learn a lot and they need to keep their ears open. They need to look out for other guys on the field because football is a game of toughness, and some guys feel like minor pain or minor dizziness is OK. But it's not. When it comes to your brain, it's very, very serious, and it's nothing to play with."

Wright was due $2.355 million in base salary in 2012, which was the final season of his contract. It might be possible he could return on a lesser salary if his health improves.

The Patriots also released interior offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger, who spent the entire 2011 regular season on injured reserve. Ohrnberger, a fourth-round pick in 2009, played in five games in his Patriots career. His base salary in 2012 was $565,000.

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