A neck injury forced linebacker Zach Orr to retire at 24-years old. Now, looking for a second chance, could the All-Pro sign with the Detroit Lions?
From posting career-high numbers, being named an All-Pro and nearly receiving a lucrative contract extension to retiring due to a neck injury, the last year must have been an emotional rollercoaster for former Baltimore Ravens’ linebacker Zach Orr. Now, the 25-year old is hoping the Detroit Lions give him a second chance.
In 2016, Orr finally got his first chance to start as a member of the Ravens. That was following two seasons as a back-up in Baltimore. And the 2014 undrafted free agent rookie out of North Texas made the most of his opportunity.
After posting a combined 30 tackles total in his first two seasons in the NFL, Orr broke out last year recording a whopping 132 tackles, five pass defends, three interceptions and a forced fumble starting in 15 games last season for the Ravens. He was even named a second team All-Pro.
But tragedy struck as a herniated disc Orr suffered prior to Week 17 revealed a rare congenital spinal condition that forced the three-year pro to retire in January just as Baltimore was reportedly closing in on a lucrative contract extension for the young linebacker.
At the time it was believed no NFL team would medically clear Orr to play, so he hung up his cleats for good. But something changed. After months of medical evaluations, Orr says doctors now believe he can play football again and at no further risk than any other NFL player.
In fact, the former Raven went on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football on Thursday to announce his return.
"“As far as me physically, mentally, I’m ready to go,” responded Orr while on the NFL Network. “I’m feeling better than ever. I’m feeling like I have these past offseasons and everything like that. So I’m ready to go.”"
Due to Orr not yet filing his retirement paperwork with the league and the fact the Ravens did not place him on their reserve/retired list, the fourth-year linebacker is officially an unrestricted free agent and able to sign with any team. And his first stop is Detroit.
It is being reported that Orr will visit with the Lions on Thursday,
Although it would be a big win for Detroit to land a player like Orr, don’t expect to hear an announcement anytime soon. According to the Detroit Free Press, the talented linebacker is in high demand and intends on visiting every interested team prior to making his decision. The Motor City was simply the first ones to call.
Adding a player like Zach Orr to a linebacker corps on a Detroit Lions’ defense that already features first round selection Jarrad Davis, Tahir Whitehead and Paul Worrilow could flip this Lions’ positional group from one of the team’s worst in 2016 to one of the league’s best.