ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Tony Scheffler is retiring from the NFL and there is really only one word to describe this.
This has nothing to do with Scheffler as a player and everything to do with him as a person. When he was released from the Detroit Lions in the middle of last season after suffering another concussion – at least his third in four seasons – it seemed like then would be the proper time for him to walk away.
He didn’t quite do it then, instead going to a couple of tryouts with teams but never actually being picked up by a squad. In the end, that probably was a good thing for him and the rest of his life.
Concussions, as we all know, are serious business and can potentially cause massive damage to human beings both during their NFL careers and certainly after. Considering the severity of the concussions he has had in the past, including being hospitalized once for a head injury suffered during a game, it made sense for him to walk away before he did any further damage to himself.
He did well in the NFL, playing eight seasons out of Western Michigan, including getting a chance to finish his career with his hometown team, the Detroit Lions. Even as his role diminished in the Lions' offense last season before his final concussion with the emergence of Joseph Fauria, Scheffler was one of the most approachable guys in the locker room. He was always willing to answer questions and help with a story, even if the questions were about his own role.
His career likely didn’t end the way he wanted, with a midseason release after a brutal hit in Green Bay last October, but rare is the NFL player who has his career end completely on his own terms.
By stepping away now, he gives himself more of a chance to be healthy for his young family. He also already has a second career forged for himself.
In the Associated Press story announcing his retirement, he said he is going to coach football at his old high school, Chelsea (Mich.) High, and take up real estate. That’s a good way to go about a post-football life.
He can stay involved in the game that gave him a lot, but also step away from it before he perhaps suffered another brain injury that could damage his future.