Ohio State linebacker choosing career over concussions
Former Ohio State linebacker Andrew Sweat makes a tackle against Purdue.
May 16th, 2012
11:44 AM ET

Ohio State linebacker choosing career over concussions

A former Ohio State linebacker said he is giving up his chance to make it in the NFL and instead will go to law school because of his concerns about concussions.

Andrew Sweat suffered three concussions while he played as a Buckeye in the Big Ten, including a serious one in the middle of his final year on the field for The Ohio State University.

But he began to feel better earlier this year, and, as an undrafted free agent, had a chance to try to nab a spot on the Cleveland Browns' roster.  As he prepared to head to the team's camp last week, he slipped and fell in the shower, causing the concussion symptoms to return.

It appears that was the final straw for Sweat, who said on Twitter he decided he had to choose his health over a possible shot in the NFL.

[tweet https://twitter.com/asweat42/status/201889708035411968%5D

"When I fell, it scared me," Sweat told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "Football is not worth my health. It's really important to me that I'm able to have a family and a life after football. Football is a great game, but when you have a concussion like that, it's not worth it."

Sweat's decision might not normally garner too much attention. He was listed as 31st on the ranking of other linebackers who were entering the NFL draft. But it comes as the NFL weathers bounty scandals and concerns regarding rough hits, as well as allegations and lawsuits by more than 1,700 NFL players claiming that the National Football League hid the dangers of concussions from them. The attention to the  concussion issue has continued to grow and was again back at the forefront of discussion after NFL star Junior Seau committed suicide.

Sweat said that Seau's death and all of the controversy swirling around the NFL right now didn't play a huge part in his decision. It was more about how he personally felt and his own concern about whether it was worth it to risk another concussion.

"Sometimes people get lost in the game of football. They don't think about injuries, and they ignore things," he told the Cleveland newspaper. "I enjoy too many things. I'm too well-rounded to have critical damage to my brain and body."

Now, instead of hitting quarterbacks, Sweat will be hitting the books and preparing to enter his first year of law school. Sweat graduated from Ohio State with a degree in finance, was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten Conference selection, a four-time OSU Scholar-Athlete, and interned at Merrill Lynch, according to his Ohio State player bio.

It's clear that Sweat's got the brains to do fine with a career outside of the NFL. And while he's excited about the new chapter in his life, he is none too happy with how a few blogs, both legal and sports-related, took him to task over his decision.

Elie Mystal, a former lawyer, wrote on the blog Above the Law that he was posting about Sweat to try to help him "avoid making what could be the biggest mistake of his life."

Mystal suggested that Sweat should try out for the Browns instead of going to law school.

"I can’t know if Sweat’s decision is being partially motivated by all the media attention focused on the long-term health consequences of playing in the NFL. But I’d bet all the money in my pocket that Sweat has not been paying attention to the media coverage of the long-term professional and financial damage that can be done by going to law school…" Mystal wrote.

The former attorney also  mocked the schools to which Sweat had been accepted, saying they were "more like the Cleveland Browns of law schools" and begging him to reconsider his decision.  According to the Columbus Dispatch, Sweat was accepted at Pittsburgh, Duquesne, West Virginia, Florida and the University of Miami.

"It’s not like law school is going anywhere! Andrew Sweat can have his cake and eat it too," Mystal wrote. " He can take the short-term potential upside of trying to have an NFL career, and then go to law school when he’s done. Hell, he might even do better on the LSAT, since he evidently took the test while trying to play Big Ten football and suffering from concussions."

The well-known sports blog Deadspin agreed.

"It is, I suppose, a little easy to forget that NFL players make a lot of money. Yes, they subject their bodies and brains to untold ravages; yes, they're exploited by money-hungry owners; yes, they're largely deprived (unfairly) of the education and training needed to succeed after football—but they make a lot of money," the article on Deadspin said. "So, Sweat, listen up and learn that NFL players, as far as exploitation goes, have a nicer deal than graduates of second- and third-tier law schools, who leave with lots of debt and similarly scrambled brains."

Sweat responded to their concerns, tweeting that he was going to be just fine with a likely job in his father's law firm.

[tweet https://twitter.com/asweat42/status/202140621274750976%5D

soundoff (200 Responses)
  1. blessedgeek

    Smart kid. He picked career over football. He DID pick career over football.

    May 16, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Andrew T

    I have no problem with him choosing not to play football... except that he signed a contract with the Browns, cashed their check and now is leaving. And on top of all that, is arrogant enough to point out to deadspin that he has a guaranteed job, regardless of how he does at whatever law school he attends.

    May 16, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Arizona Buckeye

      You are incorrect – he has not signed a contract and took no money from Cleveland – he is attempting to make the team, he is not a paid player.

      May 16, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Chitown Jason

    I find it interesting and somewhat obnoxious that Deadspin and others feel the need to critique this man's decision and say what is best for him.

    It's his decision to make and his alone (and his wife if he's married).

    May 16, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Reilleyfam

    I wouldnt do either. I went to law school and it's a waste of time & money. Open your own business and be a creater not a taker.

    May 16, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • tez07

      until the first idiot comes along and slips in front of your store and the lawyer takes from you

      May 16, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Reilleyfam

    Oh, I see now at the end the bit about "Daddys law firm" = basically he gets paid for no work. That's better than either the NFL or slaving for low wages as an "associate" with a law firm.

    May 16, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Imjesayin

    Who knew O$U players had brains? Must have been very small concussions then.

    May 16, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Smartkid

    The boy knows his limits. I'm sure his family will pay back the money to the browns.

    May 16, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Imjesayin

    Who knew O$U players had brains? Must have been very small concussions then. Some O$U booster must have accidentally dropped a sack of money on his head.

    May 16, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • FZero1313

      If you're going to insult someone's intelligence, try not to double-post when you do it, Corky.

      May 16, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. GO BLUE!


    May 16, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Buckeye Dad

    His decision and what anyone else says doesn't matter.

    May 16, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. OrthoPA

    Wow... Guess I wont go to THAT guy for any legal advice. I applaud Andrew Sweat for his decision. Just proves that there are some out there who won't put money first. It's not about life after football, it's about life INSTEAD of football. Been in healthcare for over 30 years and have taken care of plenty of meat-heads who don't respect their bodies or their health. Give the guy a break and respect his decision.

    May 16, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dan

    If there is only one certainty from this article, it's that Elie Mystal is an imbecile.

    May 16, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. GO BLUE!

    99 Sparky is obviously an O$U fan. Crybaby and cannot take a bit of criticism.

    May 16, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • 99sparky

      All I did was point out that calling someone a pansy or any other name while sitting there anonymously behind your keyboard – how is that being a crybaby? How is calling someone a name criticism? Want to toss some actual criticisim with some real point to it out there and some facts actually backing it up then please bring it on. Otherwise, take a look at the mirror with your pansy, crybaby, and avoidance of criticism comments.

      May 16, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. blknight

    Is he going to give up showers also?

    May 16, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. higher education

    I find it obnoxious and disturbing that this kid is getting called out for his decision. As former college wrestler and current medical student I'm far too familiar with the damage contact sports can have on your body, as well as the massive debt and long hours it takes to complete a professional degree. People should applaud Sweat's desire to complete an advanced degree. I imagine that the majority of individuals who are calling him 'crazy' and 'dumb' have neither competed at such a high level on the field or in the classroom. This is a perfect example of what is currently wrong with our country. We should be investing in education and not highlight films for our personal entertainment. Regardless, it is his prerogative to do as he likes and no one should 'blast' him for it. Please go back to your lazyboy chairs, sweatpants, and refrain from projecting your own self loathing and regrets on others.

    May 16, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • dano22

      Kudos to you, higher education. I bet the house you're right that nearly everyone who posted negative comments have NEVER stepped foot on a college or university campus as a student or played sports at a high level. Let the guy do what he wants to do. It is AMERICA for crying out loud.

      May 16, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
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