By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Just 26 years old, Bryan Stork feels he’s too young to call it a retirement.
Nevertheless, after missing the 2016 season following a failed physical exam that nixed a trade between the Patriots and Redskins, the now-former offensive lineman is walking away from playing the game of football forever.
“I can’t say I’m retiring because I’m only 26 but I have decided to officially step away from playing the game of football, which I will always love dearly,” Stork announced on Twitter on Tuesday night. “While chasing a childhood dream I was very blessed I had family, friends, and coaches on my side to help me get to where I wanted to go. Along the way I was able to achieve awards and championships, but I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Stork, a native of Vero Beach, Fla., played his college football at Florida State University, where he won a national championship in 2013. That year, he also won the Rimington Trophy for being the best center in college football. The Patriots then drafted him in the fourth round of the 2014 draft, and he quickly worked his way into a starting spot on the offensive line. He started for most of his rookie season, suffered an injury in the divisional round which forced him to miss the AFC championship, but returned to play in the Patriots’ comeback victory in Super Bowl XLIX over Seattle.
The following offseason, Stork suffered a concussion and neck injury during the preseason, one that kept him off the field for months. In the summer of 2016, Stork suffered his fourth documented concussion in as many years, leading to speculation that he might retire. The New York Jets did bring in Stork for a visit after that round of speculation, but never signed him.
In his announcement, Stork thanked FSU offensive line coach Rick Trickett by name.
“He pushed me to places I thought I could never go and prepared me for not only football but for life,” Stork said of Trickett. “I’m taking those lessons and using them in this next step. Looking back on how much was accomplished in a short amount of times gives me confidence that I’m capable of accomplishing whatever I do next at the highest level.”