Baltimore Ravens linebacker Zachary Orr, 24, retires because of a spinal condition he has had since birth. (Baltimore Sun video)

Of course, it's a sad day for young Ravens star Zachary Orr, who has been forced into a very early retirement by a congenital neck problem that could have led to a crippling injury on the football field.

What's not sad is that Orr is a smart, talented young man who has his whole life ahead of him and found out in time that he needs to take certain precautions to prevent a disastrous and potentially fatal incident.


He can lead a normal life. He just can't have a safe one playing a contact sport or engaging in any physically risky pursuit. That's good information to have when you're 24 and still have plenty of good options going forward.

It's certainly not good news for the Ravens, of course, if that matters at all. They just lost their leading tackler from last year and a young man who checked all the boxes as far as character, work ethic and team chemistry.

The Ravens already had plenty of needs to fill heading into this offseason and the inside linebacker position was one area where there appeared to be solid depth -- with C.J. Mosley and Orr at the top of the chart.

They may still fill that void from within, but it's just one more thing on a to-do list that includes dynamically upgrading the cornerback position, adding a pass rusher and rebuilding the receiving corps.

But, of course, that's a story for another day.

"It does" put things in perspective, said Mosley, who attended Orr's news conference at the Under Armour Performance Center. "It just kind of shows everyone that he had this season at his highest level and the next thing you know you can't play anymore. That's this crazy thing called life, but today he's blessed to be able to walk away from the game healthy and at a high point."

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