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  • Arts & Culture
  • Issue 35

John Urschel

A bad concussion led John Urschel to reevaluate his career as an NFL pro. Robert Ito hears what happened next.
Words by Robert Ito. Photography by Ted Belton.

What’s the likelihood of an NFL player quitting football to pursue a PhD? In Somerville, Massachusetts, Robert Ito speaks to the offensive lineman-turned-mathematician who could calculate the exact probability—and hears about what it’s like when your career goal switches from getting touchdowns and being picked as a first-season starter to dreams of peer review publication and a professorship. On July 27, 2017, John Urschel, an offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens, announced his retirement from football. Only three years into

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This story is from Kinfolk Issue Thirty-Five

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