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Tight end John Carlson retires, Cardinals now lack veteran at position

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For the second year in a row, a veteran tight end abruptly ends his career.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals lost a veteran from the team when tight end John Carlson announced his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday. As such, the team placed him on the reserve/retired list, which opens up a roster spot.

Carlson did not explain his decision to leave the game, giving only this statement, which the Cardinals released to the media:

"After much thought and consideration, my wife Danielle and I know that this is best decision for us. I was blessed to play seven seasons in the NFL for three tremendous organizations - the Cardinals, Vikings and Seahawks. I will always treasure the experiences and relationships made during that time but I'm also very excited about the next phase of my life and what's ahead."


Carlson (6-5, 248) played in 16 games (12 starts) with the Cardinals last season and had 33 receptions for 350 yards and one touchdown. A second round selection of the Seahawks in the 2008 NFL Draft out of Notre Dame, Carlson played in 90 games (64 starts) in his career and had 210 receptions for 2,256 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Carlson had concussion concerns entering last season when he was signed by Arizona to a two-year free agent contract. He did  not miss any time last season with any injury.

His announcement makes it the second year in a row in which a veteran tight end abruptly has decided to retire. Jake Ballard did so last offseason.

With the loss of Carlson, the Cardinals have little experience at the position. They have a combined 17 NFL regular season games played between Troy Niklas, Darren Fells, Ted Bolser, Ifeanyi Momah and rookie Gerald Christian. That can't be how head coach Bruce Arians wants to go with the position this season.

Expect the Cardinals to sign a veteran at some point.

We congratulate Carlson for his NFL career and wish him the best in whatever the next part of his life brings him.