Patriots defensive lineman Armond Armstead has retired, presumably for health reasons, before being able to play a snap for New England.
The team announced Armstead’s retirement on Wednesday.
Listed at 6 feet 5 inches, 305 pounds, Armstead was signed out of the Canadian Football League on Feb. 1, 2013, landing with the Patriots after also being pursued by the Colts and Eagles.
Once on a path to becoming a high-round NFL draft pick, Armstead suffered a heart attack early in 2011 while at Southern Cal. He was not medically cleared by USC to play that season.
Rather than transfer, Armstead decided to enter the NFL Draft, but his heart issue scared teams off, and he went undrafted. Instead, he spent 2012 in the CFL. In his one year with the Toronto Argonauts, Armstead recorded 43 tackles and six sacks, was a CFL All-Star, and helped the team to the Grey Cup championship.
Armstead joined the Patriots last year and participated in the rookie minicamp. However, when training camp began, he was not on the field, and New England released a statement on July 30 that Armstead had undergone surgery to treat an infection and he was in good condition, but there was no timetable for his return.
He spent the entire season on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury List.
This spring, when the Patriots reconvened for offseason workouts, Armstead was again not taking part. Asked about the player’s status during last month’s minicamp, coach Bill Belichick said, “we’ll see how it goes.”
But now it’s clear Armstead’s health problems were not progressing enough for him to return to the field.
In a statement on Wednesday, Belichick said, “It has been a pleasure being around Armond, as he gave everything he could to play for us. Armond worked extremely hard since joining us last February.
“He’s had a lot of adversity personally that he’s had to deal with — unusual compared to most other players — but he’s always had a great attitude, worked hard and really did everything we asked him to do. While it is unfortunate that he will not be able to play football, Armond is an outstanding young man who has a very bright future in whatever path he chooses.”
Armstead has a lawsuit pending against USC, the University Park Health Center, USC team physician Jim Tibone, and an unnamed pharmaceutical company, alleging that injections of the painkiller Toradol, which team medical staff said were mandatory, led to his heart attack.