As tough and nasty as any player in the NFL, whether it was putting Albert Haynesworth on his back or getting in the last shot in a tangle of large bodies, Kris Dielman found it hard to end his NFL career.
The four-time Pro Bowl left guard for the San Diego Chargers choked up as he announced Thursday that he was retiring due to a scary concussion that led to changes by the NFL.
“I had nine great years,” said Dielman, who recalled that no one thought he’d make it past his first training camp after signing as an undrafted rookie in 2003. “It just sucks that it has to end this way, but it is.”
Dielman said it was his decision to retire 41/2 months after sustaining a concussion in a helmet-to-helmet collision with a New York Jets defender.
“I’ve got to get out when the getting out’s good still,” he said. “It wasn’t worth what would happen if I would have kept on playing. I’ve got a beautiful family I want to be around. I live in a great place, so I want to enjoy it.”
The 320-pound Dielman was staggered by the injury early in the fourth quarter against the Jets on Oct. 23.
He continued to play because the Chargers were out of offensive linemen due to other injuries. The team didn’t diagnose his condition until after the game. Dielman suffered a grand mal seizure on the flight home. The team plane was met by an ambulance and he was hospitalized overnight.
Ten days after Dielman was hurt, the league’s injury and safety panel told game officials to watch closely for concussion symptoms in players. Officials were told that if they believed a player had sustained a concussion, they were to take appropriate steps to alert the team and get medical attention for the player.
“I played a rough style of football,” Dielman said. “This one got me and I’ve got to move on.”
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, political leaders and the Vikings unveiled a proposal to build a $975 million stadium for the team in downtown Minneapolis. The plan would put the new building nearly on top of the current Metrodome site. It calls for $398 million from the state, $150 million from the city and $427 million from the Vikings for upfront construction costs. … The Rams rejected the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission’s initial $124 million proposal to upgrade the Edward Jones Dome and will submit their own improvement plan no later than May 1. … Free-agent receiver Jerome Simpson could receive a 60-day jail sentence after pleading guilty in Covington, Ky., to a drug-related felony charge as part of an agreement with prosecutors. A judge will decide next month whether to accept deal. … The Eagles put the franchise tag on wide receiver DeSean Jackson. … The Raiders put the franchise tag on safety Tyvon Branch, guaranteeing him about $6.2 million for 2012.