Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick announced on Monday that he is retiring from pro football.
The surprise announcement was made by the player on social media on Monday evening.
“I am so thankful for the last 7 years; however, I look forward to the next chapter of life,” Frederick said.
Frederick returned to the field last season after missing all of 2018 due to Guillain-Barre Syndrome, an autoimmune disease. According to the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Guillain-Barre causes the body to attack a network of nerves around the brain and spinal cord. Most people recover from even the most severe cases of the auto-immune disease, but some will continue to have some degree of weakness, according to the institute.
“When I developed Guillian-Barré Syndrome, I did not know how to handle things. I was scared. That experience forced me to reevaluate my life priorities. I spent much of that year thinking about both the past and future. I realized how fortunate I was to play a game for a living. I realized how fortunate I was to make friends and become teammates with some great men. Most of all, I realized the importance of my family and how much I want to be there for their peaks and valleys as they were for me,” Frederick said in his announcement.
Frederick was clear in his retirement announcement he didn't think he was the same player from before the illness.
"Each day, I faced a struggle: I could no longer perform at my highest level," Frederick said. "Playing `well' is not what I expect of myself and not what my teammates deserve. Because of this, I know my days as a football player are done."
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones praised Frederick in a statement.
"His leadership ability, production and intelligence put him at the top level of interior offensive linemen in our league for many years," Jones said. "At the pinnacle of his success, his career on the field was only exceeded by a rare display of courage and determination in overcoming a life-threatening illness and returning to the game -- a challenge that could only be completed by a person with rare levels of perseverance and strength."
Frederick, 29, made the Pro Bowl five times in his six years playing for the Cowobys. He was drafted by the team in 2013 out of the University of Wisconsin.