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TE John Carlson explains abrupt retirement, cites passion, family

The veteran wanted to be a better husband and father.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

It was a bit of a surprise when it was announced veteran Arizona Cardinals tight end John Carlson had retired from the NFL. There was no real explanation and it put the Cards in a tough spot at the position, leaving them with almost zero experience. The lack of a veteran presence has led the team to even reach out to a player like Chris Cooley, who hasn't played at all since 2012 and hasn't played significant snaps since 2010.

The Star Tribune in Minnesota had a story on Carlson and his retirement, as he was a former Viking. Carlson explains why he made the choice.

"It was clear already that I didn't have that same passion and love for the game that I had in the past," said Carlson.

His family life also factored in.

Carlson, being he wasn't the best player in the league, but rather one that worked hard to stay in it, had to do lots of things outside of practice to stay on top of his game. Football players don't get to just go home and watch TV and play with the kids. They work out constantly and get treatment and all sorts of things.

The result was Carlson "wasn't nearly the husband and father that (he wanted) to be."

He is fortunate to have made a decent living in seven NFL seasons. He had a history of injuries -- including head injuries.

Now he can move on and find something else.

Cardinals fans were disappointed in his play in 2014, but he will be missed in 2015.

He is hardly the first to cite a change in passion. Even Cardinals star QB Kurt Warner mentioned when he retired how he wasn't willing or had the passion to do all that was required to stay on top of his game. He would rather spend time with his family.

The same is happening with Carlson. His job and all it entails were interfering with his family. He had to change that and luckily is in a position to do that.

In terms of the Cardinals, it put them in a tricky situation, but it also could open the door for a young player to make an impact in 2015, when the Cards have big expectations for themselves.

Good for Carlson for being able to leave the game on his  terms. He can be at peace with the decision. So many players see the game force them out of it. That is tough to overcome.