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Monday, August 4, 2008

Chris Gray: Sudden retirement due to back injury in practice

from Seattle Post Intelligencer's Clare Farnsworth blog:

Veteran offensive lineman Chris Gray just announced his retirement during an impromptu – and at times emotional – news conference.

Gray, 38 and entering his 16th NFL season, was told Saturday by the Seahawks team doctors that the back injury he suffered on the second day of training camp could lead to paralysis if he attempted to play anymore.

"When they told me Saturday, it hit me like a ton of bricks," Gray said. "My thought was rehab for another week or two, because I've been a guy who plays through pain and fights through injuries.

"When they told me I was done, it was pretty hard for the first day and half. But it's kind of a blessing. It's kind of a warning shot."

Gray was placed on injured reserve and told by the team that it will honor his contract this season. Defensive tackle Kevin Brown was signed to fill Gray's roster spot.

After signing with the Seahawks in 1998, Gray set a franchise record by starting 121 consecutive regular-season games. He was scheduled to be a backup this season.

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