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24 April 2014 Written by  Nicholas A. Norman

Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Russell Allen said he is retiring after suffering on-field stroke

 Former Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Russell Allen, whom the team released last week, revealed Tuesday that he is retiring from football after suffering a stroke during a game last season.  

Allen told TheMMQB.com’s Robert Klemko that the incident occurred when he knocked helmets with Buffalo Bills center Evan Wood during a Week 15 loss.

Allen said he started seeing double on the sideline in the second half, but went back in and finished the game. When headaches persisted on Monday, he informed the team what happened. An MRI showed that he had a stroke, MMQB wrote. A small part of his cerebellum was inactive. Three neurosurgeons confirmed the injury, the type of stroke that has never happened to a pro football player before, as far as they knew. It was the kind of injury seen in a small percentage of high-speed automobile accidents, MMQB wrote.

And here’s the quote from Allen that continues to haunt the NFL, as it rides the fine line of promoting concussion safety and awareness while also contradicting that with actions like not guaranteeing player contracts:

“If I could go back in time I would do it differently,” Allen says. “Being in it and knowing how I felt in that moment, the game feels so serious. You’re thinking, I can’t come out, because what if someone else comes in and takes my job? Or they need me out there, and I can’t come out because I really want to win. But you can’t do that, and I learned that the hard way.”

The NFL doesn’t want players to lie about head injuries, but this type of attitude will be hard to eliminate.

“It was strange because it was so routine,” he said. “We hit, I got off the block, no big deal. I felt something flash — like they say when you get your bell rung. I didn’t lose consciousness. I walked back to the huddle and finished the drive.”

“If I could go back in time I would do it differently,” Allen said. “Being in it and knowing how I felt in that moment, the game feels so serious. You’re thinking, I can’t come out, because what if someone else comes in and takes my job? Or they need me out there, and I can’t come out because I really want to win. But you can’t do that, and I learned that the hard way.”

Allen sent two tweets from his personal account after the article’s release, saying he chose to share his story so others will recognize the potential severity of head injuries.

Allen, 27, spent his entire five-year career with the Jaguars, playing in all but his final two games.