After the Baltimore Ravens had a press conference in January to announce the retirement of Zach Orr at age 25, it was surprising nonetheless. After Ravens team doctors discovered he was playing with a congenital spinal condition that could potentially end his career, we all thought his young career was done. But after months of rehab and further diagnoses of his spinal condition by visiting multiple doctors, he found out that some of them contradict those of the reports coming out of the Ravens medical reports of Orr and that he would not be at more risk than the average player. The only concern some doctors would have is if he played with herniated discs and because the herniated disc he had in his rookie season had subsided, Orr wanted to try to come back to the league and play again for any team to get a chance in the NFL again. And since Orr never turned in his retirement papers and was not resigned or tendered like Ozzie initially planned in the beginning of the offseason, a young All-Pro middle linebacker is now on the market.
Zach Orr played 15 games in 2016, starting next to C.J. Mosely and was an undrafted rookie middle linebacker in 2014 from North Texas. Ozzie would have extended him in the offseason and would have had one of the best core linebacker group on the defense for years to come if he did not have the injury. And now due to the recent signing of Jeremy Maclin, Orr may not be a Baltimore Raven because Steve Biscotti said after the signing he would prefer to sign an offensive lineman as opposed to other positions due to the lack of cap room. And other teams, reportedly 7, including the Ravens have talked to Orr about coming back into the NFL. Also, other teams would give Orr potentially more money like Detroit, which he is visiting Thursday, June 29th according to Pride of Detroit.
He would be a great addition to any team with middle linebacker needs. According to Pro Football Reference, Orr had a total of 130 tackles, 3 interceptions, and a forced fumble in 2016. Orr had a better statistical season then Mosely in 2016 and was the next great Ravens middle linebacker to play next to C.J. He was selected as second-team All-Pro honors and was the leading tackler for the Ravens in 2016 as a 3rd year undrafted player. But the Ravens were prepared with his departure as they moved former 2nd round pick in 2016 Kamalei Correa to the inside linebacker spot and former 2nd round draft pick in 2017 Tyus Bowser has the versatility to play inside and outside. Of course, Zach Orr is taking a risky gamble as all the risks of having his spinal condition are there but that’s the chance Orr wants to take to continue his career, whether it is with the Ravens or not. But a reunion with the Ravens looks unlikely for Orr if he wants a bigger contract that he does deserve.