Ravens’ John Urschel Retires Early, Will Finish Ph.D In Math At MIT

Offensive lineman John Urschel is coming to New England, but it won’t be to join the Patriots.

The Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman announced his retirement Thursday at the age of 26, just two days after a Boston University study found chronic traumatic encephalopathy in 110 of 111 brains of NFL players donated by families. ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, citing a team source, reported the CTE study played a role in Urschel’s retirement, but Urschel also will attend MIT full-time to finish his Ph.D in mathematics.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Urschel called him 90 minutes before Thursday’s practice and that his decision was “out of the blue.” But Harbaugh wished the 26-year-old well.

“He said he’s going to retire from football, (and) that was something that’s been on his mind for quite a while and throughout the offseason,” Harbaugh said. “That’s what he decided to do. We respect John tremendously.”

Urschel’s doctorate focuses on spectral graph theory, numerical linear algebra and machine learning. He was among Forbes’ “30 under 30” in science this year and has published six peer-reviewed papers with three more on the way.

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images