Linebacker Zack Follett was reportedly having a good first few days of training camp for the Detroit Lions. After working all offseason to come back from a severe neck injury, Follett sounded like he was practicing well enough to not only continue playing football, but to possibly get into the rotation at linebacker.
After missing practice on Tuesday, however, the situation changed drastically. Follett sent out the following two tweets tonight:
Respect to Schwartz Mayhew Lewand didnt want to risk a life threatening injury after seeing my pain, Someone had to make the tough decision!
Much as I fought to give it a go just wasnt in His plan. No longer a Lion. God has me filled with plenty of Joy #Godbetheglory Thanks!
At this point it sounds like the Lions decided to release Follett. This may not necessarily be a mutual split, but based on Follett's tweets it doesn't sound like he will continue playing football. As nice of a comeback story it would be, his long-term health is more important. Considering another bad hit could put him in a wheelchair for good, the risk just isn't worth it.
If this is indeed the end of Follett's career, I want to say thanks for all he has done for the Lions the last two years. He went from being a seventh-round draft pick to being on the practice squad and then eventually the active roster in 2009. Last year he went from being simply a special teams player to starting early in the year, and even after his injury he fought awfully hard to make it back. He is quite the personality on and off the field and a great guy, so if this is the end of the road, he will certainly be missed.
UPDATE: In a follow-up tweet, Follett said his "neck was on fire" and he "couldn't compete in hitting drills." He added, "So a decision had to be made." That certainly sounds like he's called it a career.