Citing concern over concussions, Oklahoma junior running back Daniel Brooks has decided to leave football, Brooke Pryor of The Oklahoman reports.
This retirement of sorts represents the third such move by a Sooner player this year. Offensive lineman Jamal Tanley opted to leave the team before the season started due to head-injury issues, and starting linebacker Tay Evans made the decision to walk away from the game due to his own problems with concussions.
While Brooks was not nearly as key to the Sooners’ effort as Evans, being a backup running back who’s received just 36 carries in his career, it is systemic of a modern landscape that’s seen higher-profile players do make the same choice.
Following Chris Borland’s decision to retire from the 49ers after his rookie year, several have followed suit as more information about the long-term ramifications of concussions surfaces. Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah, Bills linebacker A.J. Tarpley, and most recently, 49ers offensive lineman Anthony Davis — who retired for the second time, citing a concussion suffered earlier this season in this instance — joined Borland in early retirement.
Brooks was a distant third on the Sooners’ depth chart to start the 2016 season, playing behind starter Samaje Perine and backup Joe Mixon. A former three-star recruit, Brooks took 36 career handoffs and gained 176 yards. He also caught two passes for 40 yards last season. Brooks did not score a touchdown in his injury-shortened career.
Evans was offered a path to continue with the program by serving as a student-coach for the Sooners. It’s unknown if he’s accepted yet and also unknown if Brooks will be given a similar opportunity with the Sooners.