Denver Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe is done for at least the 2017 season thanks to a frightening neck injury. He has a history of these injuries and he can’t take any more chances.
Wolfe has been experiencing numbness in his legs, arms and face. He’s been trying to get to the bottom of it, and his last stop was a trip to Los Angeles to talk to surgeon Robert Watkins. Watkins told him he should stop playing immediately, but that surgery wasn’t necessary.
“As much as I’d like to get back out there and keep playing, when a spinal doctor tells you that you can lose use of your right arm if you don’t rest and heal properly, you listen,” Wolfe said to Mike Klis of KUSA, per Josh Alper of NBC’s Pro Football Talk. “I don’t want to lose the use of my right arm. I’m happy because he said I wouldn’t need surgery, which would have meant all kinds of crazy things. But he said there’s no way you should play football the next two months.”
Wolfe is right. This is bigger than football. If those are the risks, he’s smart to step aside, especially in a lost season that won’t end with the playoffs but will likely net a top-10 draft pick.
This is also in keeping with what Wolfe said back at the end of November on 104.3 The Fan.
“The last time that this was happening, I just kept going and it put me in the ICU and it almost killed me,” Wolfe said then, per NBC’s Curtis Crabtree. “So for me, I’m not going to let it go on for 12 weeks, for the rest of the season. I’m not going to let it go on for five weeks and then crash at the end of the season and end up in the ICU again. Why don’t I jump on it now and make sure that the rest of my career I’m going to be OK.
“Sometimes these things happen when you’re getting hit in the head a lot it’s just something that comes with the game. You have to be ready for that, for when it comes, you just got to nip it in the bud. Unfortunately, I’ve had a few more than I’d like to deal with. I’m ready to get this thing fixed up and worry about my future.”