Thomas retires from NFL to pursue doctorate in psychology
Free-agent tight end Julius Thomas has retired from the NFL to pursue a doctorate in psychology.
Thomas, selected in the fourth round of the 2011 draft by the Broncos, spent last season with the Miami Dolphins after playing two years with the Jacksonville Jaguars and four seasons with Denver.
But in an emotional letter published on the Players' Tribune on Friday, he announced his retirement and revealed he plans to go back to school to study "the effects of contact sports on brain trauma and neurobehavioural performance".
"I'm ready to admit that I'm OK with giving up the identity of 'Julius the football player',"Thomas wrote. "I'm OK with not being recognized as an NFL athlete, because I'm more than that.
"I have stepped out of my identity before and I will continue to do it again and again throughout life.
"I believe helping others is what I'm supposed to be doing at this point in my life. Hopefully, I can help by encouraging more of my peers to connect with who they are outside of the game. If ultimately that's what I'm remembered for, I'd be very thankful."
Thomas also shared some of his personal struggles that led to his decision.
"I realised that no matter my material success, I had much work to do internally," he said. "I could no longer play to the social ideal of the happy athlete millionaire.
"I had to take an honest look at who I was, or as Jung would say, dive into my 'shadow', to realize that life is tough emotionally on all of us, that we can't grow until we have healed from the traumas of our pasts."
We at Sportskeeda wish Julius Thomas the best in whatever step he takes next.