Bryan Stork won a national championship in college and a Super Bowl title as a rookie. But injuries forced him to give up his playing career. Jason Munz/Hattiesburg American.
And, instead of preparing for another NFL season, the 26-year-old Stork is in Hattiesburg, where he’s a graduate assistant coach helping the Southern Miss football team.
His career is another one cut short by head injuries and the risk of potential trauma due to playing football. Even if Stork is not ready to admit it quite that plainly.
“Listen, I’m not a doctor,” he said. “I don’t research those things. I’ve been through those things and I had to make the best decision for myself. And every player, at some point, will have to make that decision.”
That’s about as much as he’s willing to address what led him to this point. Instead, he is trying to concentrate on the reality of his present. Stork recently joined the Southern Miss coaching staff. He assists Golden Eagle offensive line coach Erik Losey, who was a graduate assistant himself for two years at Florida State when Stork was the Rimington Trophy winner and an all-ACC player.
“He coaches like that coach that wants you to be better,” Southern Miss right tackle Ty Pollard said. “He’s not just going to stand there and let you mess up. He’s the O-line coach when the O-line coach ain’t lookin’.”
Stork was considered — as recently as 2015 — to be among the brightest up-and-comers at the center position. However, injuries — specifically those to the head and neck — plagued him throughout his career. Prior to the 2016 season, Stork suffered his fourth concussion in as many years, dating back to his senior season with the Seminoles.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) gestures as center Bryan Stork (66) looks on during the first quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. (Photo: Jake Roth, Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)
That’s when the Patriots attempted to trade him to the Washington Redskins, but a failed physical reportedly derailed the transaction and Stork was released by the Patriots. He announced his retirement in March, via Twitter, by Kenny Rogers song. Stork knew it was time to fold.
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