Linebacker Shea McClellin, who most recently played with the New England Patriots, has very likely played his last game, just six years after he was drafted. He cited multiple concussions as the reason.
Missed all of 2017 with concussion effects
In a story by ESPN Patriots reporter Mike Reiss, McClellin, who was the Chicago Bears’ first-round pick (19th overall) in 2012, intimated he spent all of 2017 on injured reserve due to the effects of concussion. It does not appear that the Patriots ever offered a reason/injury for McClellin’s status; he began training camp with the team last summer but was quickly sidelined.
McClellin tried to come back midway through the season, and practiced for two weeks, but the Patriots never activated him off IR.
“I was feeling good, but unfortunately had more residual effects from concussions,” McClellin said. “It’s something they can’t clear you for. That’s the way it is nowadays, they’re tough on concussion things. It’s difficult, but I got through it. One thing I’d say, they handled it like they should have. I’m not upset with them, they’re not upset with me, it’s just the way it is. They handled it perfectly.”
He was released in March, with one year left on his contract.
Five diagnosed concussions, and likely more
McClellin acknowledged that he’d been diagnosed with five concussions in his career, but likely suffered more that hadn’t been formally recorded.
“I think it was just over time, it wasn’t just one thing. I’ve had five documented concussions, and probably more than that which aren’t documented. It was just residual effects that I couldn’t overcome, which is unfortunate. But sometimes that’s the way it plays out and you just have to deal with it,” he said.
Only 28 years old, McClellin spent the first four years of his career with the Chicago Bears, signing with New England in 2016. He played 17 games with the team that first year, including his first-ever playoff appearance. The Patriots won the Super Bowl that year, against Atlanta.
“It was awesome, first year we won the Super Bowl, can’t complain about that,” McClellin said. “Just meeting all the guys in the locker room, that’s going to be the biggest thing I’m going to miss, that’s for sure. It’s a great locker room culture in New England. Everyone is so close there, it’s just something special. You can just tell because it transfers to the field.”
Next up: Coaching
A native of Caldwell, Idaho, who was a standout at Boise State, McClellin is returning to his home state.
He’s accepted the linebackers coach position at Mountain View High School in Meridian, Idaho, about 30 miles east of Marsing High, where he was a three-sport star, and not far from Boise State. McClellin hasn’t completely ruled out returning to the NFL, though he certainly would be a longshot at this point.
“I’m still staying ready, still working out. I’ve learned to never say never, there’s always a chance that I could still play again, but for now all my focus is on coaching high school,” he said, later expressing optimism that his multiple concussions won’t severely impact his long-term health.
“I think I’m going to be all right,” he said. “I can’t predict the future, no one can, but we’ll see how things play out. I don’t have any residual effects from head injuries right now. I’m optimistic about it, for sure.”
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