DALLAS — Five-time Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick has announced he is retiring from the NFL. The Dallas Cowboys center since 2013, Frederick missed the 2018 season due to a battle with Guillain Barre Syndrome, but returned in 2019 to earn another Pro Bowl nod. But now, the best center in football for at least a portion of his career has decided to hang it up.
Frederick posted the news on Twitter a little after 5 p.m. CT on Monday, writing "football is risky. Each day, players go to work knowing this could be their last day playing. Facing the potential end of my career because of my illness forced me to imagine life after football."
Frederick was the anchor for an offensive line that was routinely the best in the NFL over the last several years. He was also the brains of the Cowboys offense, lending a cerebral approach to the game that few in the sport could match.
"I am so thankful for the last 7 years; however, I look forward to the next chapter of life," Frederick wrote. "Kaylee and I will continue to make a positive impact on the Dallas community which has given us so much. Best of luck to the 2020 Dallas Cowboys and the franchise in the future."
The full text of Frederick's statement is below:
After much consideration, discussion, and reflection, I have decided to retire from football. This was not an easy decision. I entered the league at 22 years old, unsure of where life would lead. I since have married, welcomed two beautiful, healthy children into this world, and achieved professional levels of which I could have never dreamed.
Playing football has given me many amazing things. I had the good fortune to play on very successful teams, participate in Pro Bowls, and even be named All-Pro. I have been surrounded by not only elite level athletes and coaches, but elite level men. I have learned from and worked aside some of the game’s best players and coaches. Surprisingly, what I learned from them on the field paled in comparison to what I learned off the field: specifically, how to be an impactful member of the community, reliable teammate, and devoted family man.
I started a journey almost two years ago that completely blindsided me. 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.
Football is risky. Each day, players go to work knowing this could be their last day playing. Facing the potential end of my career because of my illness forced me to imagine life after football. I had to prepare for my career potentially ending. Some players fear life when it no longer revolves around football; the moment one stops playing the sport to which one’s identity and dreams have been tied to for 20 years. After months of contemplation, I not only accepted that moment, but I also, surprisingly found myself welcoming the moment. I was ready for the next stage of my life; however, the competitor in me would not accept going out without returning to the field.
I made my return to the field, played well overall, and was selected to the Pro Bowl, but it was a difficult year for me. Each day I faced a struggle: I could no longer perform at my highest level. Playing “well” is not what I expect of myself and is not what my teammates deserve. Because of this, I know my days as a football player are done. I am proud of what I have accomplished in my career, and I walk away with my head held high.
I thank the Jones family, the entire Cowboys organization, and my teammates for allowing me to go on this wild ride. I am very lucky to have played my entire career for and with the greatest sports franchise and fanbase in the world. I cannot express my gratitude enough for the support and opportunity over the last 7 years. I thank my family and friends for their support and for enduring my crazy schedule. Most of all, I thank my wife, Kaylee, for her unending support and belief in me. She handled the NFL craziness with beauty and grace. No one gives enough credit to the significant others in the NFL.
I am so thankful for the last 7 years; however, I look forward to the next chapter of life. Kaylee and I will continue to make a positive impact on the Dallas community which has given us so much. Best of luck to the 2020 Dallas Cowboys and the franchise in the future.