Over the past few seasons, the NFL has seen an increasing number of players retiring at a surprisingly young age, sometimes while still in the prime of their careers. And for most of them, the reason is the same: concern that continuing to take the field now will mean debilitating problems later—in particular chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease linked to scores of deceased former pros.
It got us wondering: What happens to a former football star after he’s hung up his cleats so early in the game? Do they miss it? How deep are their regrets? And what on earth do they do with all that newfound free time?
We talked to four recent retirees to find out about their life after football.