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Ex-Ohio State linebacker Andrew Sweat is giving up on his tryout with the NFL's Cleveland Browns, and will instead tackle the rigors of law school. The reason: fears about the effects of concussions.
"Concussion symptoms didn't want to risk it," Sweat, 23, explained via Twitter on Sunday. "Health trumps football any day."
Sweat's announcement comes as more than 1,700 former NFL players pursue lawsuits against the league alleging a cover-up about the dangers of concussions, CNN reports. But Sweat's decision is also being sacked with ridicule, even by legal commentators.
"Can somebody please tell this guy that all the people who are telling him that going to law school is the 'smart' choice are horribly irrational and economically uninformed?" legal blogger Elie Mystal wrote on Above The Law.
Indeed, the NFL minimum salary for rookies is $390,000 this year, and will rise to $420,000 in 2014, when former OSU linebacker Andrew Sweat will likely begin his third and final year of law school.
(Sweat has been accepted at five law schools, though not at Ohio State, he told the Columbus Dispatch. He has not yet announced which law school he'll be attending.)
By comparison, law students graduated with an average debt of more than $100,000 in 2011. And the nationwide average starting salary for new associates was $115,000 in 2011.
But money isn't everything for the undrafted free agent who suffered three concussions while playing for Ohio State. Just as Sweat was set to report to the Browns training camp last week, he hit his head in the shower, causing his concussion symptoms to return, he told The Plain Dealer.
"When I fell, it scared me," Sweat said. "Football is a great game, but when you have a concussion like that, it's not worth it."
Former Ohio State linebacker Andrew Sweat also consulted his father Gary before picking law school over the NFL. Gary Sweat played football at Syracuse, according to his son's OSU biography, and is also a lawyer.