May 17, 2013

Player cut after diagnosis with diabetes

The NFL is a notoriously ruthless business for players. But no matter how immune we grow to that harsh reality, there is always the occasional story that serves as a reminder of how quickly and mercilessly a player's fortunes can change. This is one of those stories.

The Patriots waived defensive tackle Kyle Love on Wednesday, a couple weeks after learning he'd been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. New England cited a non-football injury/illness (NFI), as the reason for the move.

Love, who just completed his third season in the NFL, all with New England, was offered the opportunity to either retire for one season or be waived, according to his agent, Richard Kopelman of Klass Sports.

Had he chosen to retire, Love wouldn't have been paid, nor would he have satisfied the final year on his contract, after which he's scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. The Patriots, meanwhile, would have retained his rights if he chose to come back after retiring.

Confident he could latch on with another team, Love, who signed a two-year, $3.09M contract extension with the Patriots prior to last season, chose to be waived.

“When this issue first surfaced, I immediately contacted the NFLPA," said Kopelman. "And there was unanimity in the response: Do not retire. That was the one thing there was zero debate over.”

Love's career limbo didn't last long, though. He was reportedly claimed on waivers by the Jaguars on Thursday, according to Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com.
Love had lost roughly 25 pounds this offseason prior to his diagnosis, but doctors have told him it will be a matter of a few weeks until he's at full strength again -- likely before summer training camps open -- according to his representatives.

“Nobody is certain right now what Kyle’s condition will be," said Kopelman. "But historically, Type 2 diabetes is very, very treatable, and there is no reason to believe Kyle won’t be able to pursue his career in professional football -- including this season.”