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John Urschel retires from NFL

John Urschel was expected to be in the mix to become the Ravens’ starting center, but instead has announced his retirement at the age of 26.

John Urschel has a bright professional future ahead of him. It’s just no longer going to involve playing football. On Thursday the Baltimore Ravens announced that the 26-year-old former fifth round draft pick in 2014 has retired from professional football.

The reasons leading up to Urschel’s early retirement are unclear. However, he did earn his Ph.D. in mathematics from MIT and certainly looks to have a long career of being a genius ahead of him. In this era of worrying about head trauma and CTE, that could have been a determining factor. Another factor may have been if he was losing his camp battle for the job as starting center to Ryan Jensen and figured that rather than being a backup he could focus full time on his academic and scholarly work.

Either way, Urschel’s retirement is not good for the Ravens.

This offseason, tight end Dennis Pitta was forced to retire with another injury. Cornerback Tavon Young and running back Kenneth Dixon have both been declared out for the year, and quarterback Joe Flacco is dealing with a disc injury that is expected to keep him out into the preseason.

Even with Urschel on the team, the Ravens offensive line was a problem spot for the team’s offense. Urschel has proven to be a solid backup, but elevating him to a starting job was still a scary proposition. Without him, it looks even worse. Jensen does have nine starts in his career since being a 2013 sixth round draft pick by the Ravens, but the 6-foot-4, 318-pound sixth round draft pick out of CSU-Pueblo has been cut and on the practice squad for portions of his stint with the Ravens.

If Jensen has to be the guy for the Ravens in the middle of their offensive line, they may just have the worst starting center in the league come week one. Even worse, James Hurst also looks like he may be the worst starting right tackle in the league.

While the Ravens have three quality starters, including Marshal Yanda, the best right guard in the league, and rising second-year players Ronnie Stanley and Alex Lewis, one weak spot on an o-line can kill a team. The Ravens have two weak spots.

At this point, the Ravens may have no other choice by to go after veteran Nick Mangold. At 33-years-old and coming off an injury-plagued season that led to his release from the New York Jets, Mangold is a far way away from being the best center in the league that he was before. However, he probably still is one of the 32-best centers around and a competent starter. Especially playing next to Yanda, would still be a very quality addition.

With all of the efforts the Ravens made to load up their defense this offseason, the team’s growing issues on offense are not boding well for a bounce back 2017 season after they missed the playoffs for the third time in four years last year. They have to do something sooner than later.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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