John Carlson Quits At 30

Arizona Cardinals tight end John Carlson has retired from football at the age of 30. According to reports on AZ Cardinals, the team's official website, Carlson, who joined the Cardinals last year as a free agent, didn't give a specific reason, but released a statement announcing his decision.

"After much thought and consideration, my wife Danielle and I know that this is the best decision for us. I was blessed to play seven seasons in the NFL for here 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."
It will be the second consecutive year that the Cardinals have lost a Tight End to retirement following the equally surprising retirement of Jake Ballard last August. Ballard, who was 27 when he quit during training camp last year, gave up the game after struggling with knee injuries earlier in his career.
Carlson also joins Chris Bollard, Troy Polamalu, and Patrick Willis, all NFL players who have called time on their careers this off-season.

Carlson, who was just a few months short of his 31st birthday, was in the 8th year of a NFL career that started after he was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in 2008. Prior to that, he had been named captain at Notre Dame where he had 100 receptions, 1,093 receiving yards, and 8 touchdowns over his college career. Carlson also spent two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings before signing a $4.65 million dollar two-year contract with the Cardinals in 2014.

Interestingly, there had been fan speculation that Carlson, who had a difficult 2014 season, would be let go in the off season. But, according to Revenge of the Birds, a Cardinals fan website, coach Bruce Arians was eager to keep him around just six weeks ago.

"I think John lost his swagger a bit after a couple of dropped passes. We talked about it in his exit interview, I think he'll come back better than ever"
In his one season with the Cardinals, Carlson grabbed 33 receptions for 139 receiving yards and one touchdown, and his surprise departure leaves the Cardinals - who did pick two tight ends in the NFL entry draft last week - a little short of experienced players at the tight end position. Darren Fells played 10 times for the Cardinals last year, and second-year prospect Troy Niklas, drafted from Notre Dame last year, should also play a prominent role.

Arians will have to find new solutions to make up for Carlson's exit.

[Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images Sports]