Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick has announced his retirement at the age of 29.
A first-round pick in the 2013 draft, Frederick spent his entire NFL career with Dallas and was selected to the Pro Bowl on five occasions and named a first-team All-Pro once.
However, the offensive lineman missed the entire 2018 season due to Guillain–Barre syndrome, an auto-immune disorder that damages the nervous system.
While able to return to action in 2019 – leading to another Pro Bowl appearance – the former Wisconsin Badger has revealed the time is right to walk away from the game as he can longer perform at the “highest level”.
“When I developed Guillian-Barre Syndrome, I did not know how to handle things. I was scared,” Frederick wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.
“That experience forced me to re-evaluate my life priorities. I spent much of that year thinking about both the past and the future.
“I realised how fortunate I was to make friends and become team-mates with some great men. Most of all, I realised the importance of my family and how much I want to be there for their peaks and valleys, as they were for me.”
On his comeback in 2019, he added: “Each day I faced a struggle: I could no longer perform at my highest level. Playing ‘well’ is not what I expect of myself and is not what my team-mates deserve.
“Because of this, I know my days as a football player are done. I am proud of what I have accomplished in my career, and I walk away with my head held high.”
Frederick signed a six-year, $56.4million contract extension prior to the 2016 season.
His decision to retire is a blow for the Cowboys, though the franchise have retained the services of back-up center Joe Looney for the 2020 campaign.
— Travis Frederick (@tfrederick72) March 23, 2020