On Monday, the New Orleans Saints found out they will miss a key part of their defense for the entire 2017 season, but everyone is simply hoping that Nick Fairley will be alright. In his first season with the Saints last year, the defensive tackle became one of the key players for black and gold, and it earned him a big contract extension and a lot of money. Unfortunately for everyone, not only is Fairley’s season already over but his career may be as well.
As reported by ESPN, Fairley has been placed on season-ending injured reserve and it seems as if his career could be over due to an issue with his heart.
The 29-year-old has missed all of the Saints’ offseason activities while meeting with three different specialists at the very least. Saints head coach Sean Payton did say that one of those specialists recommended Fairley never play football again.
“He’s gotten two professional opinions. The first one was one that advised that he shouldn’t play football again. The second opinion was a little different, and he’s getting a third opinion or he’s already gotten a third opinion, we’re waiting on that opinion.”
As of now, the team and Fairley are both waiting for the results from a third opinion, but it is not yet known what the results were. Despite not knowing everything just yet, the Saints thought it best to not put Fairley any further at risk and place him on injured reserve.
At least one specialist has suggested Saints DT Nick Fairley should no longer play football due to a heart issue. https://t.co/gQeTtx77GN
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 26, 2017
Last year, Fairley’s first in New Orleans was the best of his career as he finished with 43 combined tackles and 6.5 sacks while playing in all 16 games. It was his highest totals in both categories since entering the NFL six seasons ago.
Nick Fairley was drafted 13th overall by the Detroit Lions in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He played four seasons with the Lions before having one season with the St. Louis Rams and then, signing a one-year deal with the Saints.
As reported by SB Nation back in March, Fairley signed a four-year-deal with the Saints for $28 million.
— NFL Sportyst (@NFLsportyst) June 27, 2017
The New Orleans Saints are likely going to turn to Sheldon Rankins, a first-round draft pick from last year, as the primary replacement for Nick Fairley. New Orleans has been hoping to build back up a defense that has struggled for years, but the health of its players comes first. Right now, it is confirmed that Fairley is going to miss the entire 2017 season, but only time will tell if his career in the NFL will ever be able to continue.
[Featured Image by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images]