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Saturday, October 24, 2009
Redskins' OT Samuels evaluates future


Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

Redskins Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels said Friday evening that he'll wait a couple of months before deciding whether or not to retire from the league because of a neck injury. Earlier in the day, The Washington Post reported that Samuels had told people in the organization that he would miss the remainder of the season and planned to retire.

 
 AP Photo/Rick Havner
 Chris Samuels has a condition called stenosis, which is causing a narrowing of his spine.
Samuels released a statement through the club Friday evening that indicated no decision has been made at this time:

"I will continue to seek medical advice," he said in a statement. "I hope to see where I am physically over the next couple months. At this time, I have not made a decision, but I love playing for the Redskins and hope to be back."



That statement actually sounds fairly optimistic, but the comments from Samuels' teammates in the Post story made it sound like Samuels' career was over. Quarterback Jason Campbell had encouraged Samuels to seek out the opinions of several different specialists before deciding anything. And while teammates would love to see Samuels return to the team, their overriding concern seems to be the left tackle's safety. He has a condition called stenosis, which causes a narrowing of the spine.

"He's still young and there's a lot he hasn't done with his life yet that he wants to do," Campbell told the Post on Friday. "It's been hard to see him go through this because Chris is such a great player, and he's an even better person. . . . But after what happened in the Carolina game, I think everybody kind of knew there was a chance this could happen."



I've always found Samuels to be one of the most accessible players on the team. The former Alabama star has a keen interest in politics and we once had a long conversation about the '08 presidential election. Every player who puts on a uniform in the league is risking long-term injury, but Samuels' stenosis puts him in even more danger.

I know how much Samuels loves the game, but he's never really let it define him. If he walks away after the season, he doesn't strike me as the type of person who will have a lot of regrets. I plan on catching up with him next week to see if he's willing to elaborate on his injury. If not for the neck issue, I would think Samuels easily had another three or four years in him.