Michael Oher’s NFL career will forever be intrinsically linked to the film Blind Side, but did it contribute to his retirement?
Having played eight seasons in the league with the Baltimore Ravens, the Tennessee Titans, and the Carolina Panthers, Oher eventually hung up his jersey in 2018.
His NFL career was a memorable one, as he won a Super Bowl with the Ravens and even managed to be selected in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft.
Yet, his progress was always linked to the film, which followed his impoverished upbringing and subsequent adoption.
When did Michael Oher retire?
Oher enjoyed a brilliant professional career that made the most of his natural talent. Having been drafted as a talented left tackle by the Baltimore Ravens, Big Mike made the most of his physical gifts.
Being six-foot-two at 15 years of age, Oher was destined for a life in the sporting world. In five seasons with the Ravens, he never missed a game. His presence on the offensive line was taken for granted as he helped protect Joe Flacco.
Despite his reliability and physical frame, Michael Oher was never voted to the Pro Bowl. He played 110 games in the NFL and is estimated to have made more than $34 million in salary payments.
His eventual retirement came after leaving Maryland. The offensive lineman spent a single season in Tennessee with the Titans where injuries caught up with him.
You have to remember that Oher’s body had been put under the physical strain of adulthood for many more years than normal, merely because of his size as a teenager.
Two seasons with Carolina followed, the latter ended after just three games, and Michael Oher elected to retire at 30 years old.
The 2016 season was his last in the NFL, and he announced his retirement in 2017 after failing a physical.
Why did Michael Oher retire?
Injuries caught up with Big Mike in a huge way. After missing all but three games in the 2016 season, he battled to recover and play in 2017.
Injury setbacks kept hindering his recovery. He was in a position to try and make the Carolina Panthers’ roster in 2017, but he failed the initial physical.
After this blow, Oher decided that he wouldn’t be able to make a return to football. The Panthers released him and he announced his retirement, electing to focus on non-footballing pursuits.
Did Blind Side contribute to Michael Oher’s retirement?
Oher’s story was an inspirational tale. It showed that despite having a challenging upbringing, where his father died and his mother was addicted to drugs, he could achieve something.
Oher escaped poverty through his adoption by the Tuohy family, but does he regret being the subject of the film?
“I watched those scenes thinking, no, that’s not me at all. I’ve been studying, really studying, the game since I was a kid. People look at me and they take things away from me because of a movie. They don’t really see the skills and the kind of player I am. Football is what got me here, and the movie… it wasn’t me.”
While Michael Oher wasn’t necessarily grateful for the film’s depiction of his younger self, he doesn’t necessarily blame it for his retirement.
Clearly, it was the physical problems that the tackle was having, which prevented him from carrying on in the NFL.
With that being said, it must be acknowledged that the bitterness Big Mike felt toward the film must have had an impact on his confidence in the NFL.
“I get downgraded so much because of something off the field.”
From the player’s perspective, he had to overcome mountains of adversity as a foster child, in order to earn the recognition that came in the form of the film.
Yet, he then had to scale another mountain once in the NFL to prove to people that he had the requisite talent to succeed and that he wasn’t just drafted by Baltimore because of his story.
Only Michael Oher will ever know if this pressure impacted his career.