Former Hawkeyes guard Sean Welsh would like to be a resource for NFL teams about mental health issues Mark Emmert/Hawk Central
Two weeks after signing his first professional football contract, former Iowa Hawkeyes guard Sean Welsh announced Friday that he is retiring from the sport.
"This decision might feel quick for many, but I’ve had apprehension about pursuing a professional career for some time," Welsh posted on Facebook. "I believe football is one of the greatest games ever played, it’s one that should be played with passion and an unwavering desire. For me, this is no longer the case."
Welsh, 23, was a first-team all-Big Ten Conference selection as a senior after an outstanding career that saw him play virtually every position on the offensive line at one time or another. He was invited to play in the Senior Bowl and to the NFL Draft Combine.
Welsh, 6-foot-3 and 295 pounds, went undrafted but signed with the Washington Redskins as a free agent on April 28. It looked to be a favorable spot for him.
Instead, the Ohio native is walking away from football and proclaimed himself "hopeful and eager to approach this next chapter of my life."
"I am profoundly grateful for the people in my life that have made what I’ve done possible," Welsh continued. "I also want to thank the Redskins as well for the opportunity they gave me. I never expected to make it this far and I consider myself among the luckiest guys in the world to experience what I have."
Welsh was a mainstay on the offensive line for four seasons and consistently among the team's leaders. He made national headlines last summer when he opened up about his experiences with depression while playing at Iowa. He also said at the NFL Combine that he hoped to be a resource for pro teams when it comes to handling mental-health issues.
Welsh earned a degree in business and marketing.